PETALING JAYA - “Energy stick” inhalers that are getting increasingly popular among children and teenagers may contain ingredients similar to vape, cautioned health experts.
They said these “nasal inhalers” which are marketed to boost energy could be addictive and hazardous to health.
The device is in the form of an inhaler, and the substances - which contain food flavouring and glycerin among other chemical substances - go directly into the respiratory system, Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amrahi Buang pointed out.
These energy sticks could also be the “gateway” to developing smoking or vaping habits among children and teenagers, he said.
“The only difference (between energy sticks and vape) is that it does not involve combustion,” he added.
Mr Amrahi said inhalers sold at pharmacies for medicinal purposes are different from these energy sticks which are being sold online, mainly through social media platforms.
He said such inhalers are registered with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency while energy sticks are not.
Mr Amrahi also urged ecommerce platforms to promptly take down any advertisements of the products, calling on them to be responsible and self-police.
“We expect the platform to be responsible. But I know this is the digital world where some stuff is hard to control so the authorities too need to look into using existing laws to curb the matter,” he added.
Advertisements for such products usually feature a two-pronged nasal inhaler described as being filled with oils, mint or camphor. They are reportedly easy to use and are being sold for as low as RM2.50 (70 Singapore cents).
Mr Amrahi also urged the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to play its role in monitoring the advertisements on social media that are targeting the product specifically at children.
“A whole-of-society and government approach is required, we have seen the Health Ministry and Education Ministry coming out together to address the matter. I expect other relevant authorities to also play their roles, includ...