Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) laud the Health Ministry's move to enact a new legislation, specifically for smokers and tobacco products, covering electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as well.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) deputy president, Yusof Abdul Rahman said he supported the ministry's proposal to include e-cigarettes under the proposed new Act as such cigarettes were also harmful to health.

"This matter needs to be taken seriously although there will be protests from consumers and distributors, because electronic cigarettes are just as harmful as ordinary cigarettes and therefore, enforcement should be the same.

"The definition of cigarette should also be expanded, to include tobacco-free cigarettes and 'shisha'," he said.

It was previously reported that the Health Ministry was drafting a new legislation based on the existing Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 under the Food Act 1983.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers' Association (PPIM) chief activist, Datuk Nadzim Johan said the ministry should issue guidelines on the definition of e-cigarettes.

"The ministry should undertake an immediate study encompassing consumerism aspects and what are being practised by the people of this country in order to determine the danger level of the use of e-cigarettes.

"It is important for people to know the definition of and guidelines on e-cigarette, whether it falls under the category of cigarettes or hazardous foodstuff," he said.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine fluid, additional flavour called e-juice and liquid solvent known as propylene glycol, which may cause various diseases including heart disease.