On Monday, 4 November, a 17-year-old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Labuan Nucleus Hospital in Labuan
New Straits Times reported today, 9 November that the 17-year-old boy was admitted with breathing difficulties initially thought to have been caused due to his asthma.
However, doctors at the ICU have since diagnosed the teenager with suffering severe internal lung injuries, rhabdomyolysis, and kidney failure.
Additionally, Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari said that further investigation revealed that the teenager had been vaping two weeks prior to falling ill.
According to a Malay Mail report on Friday, 8 November, it is the first such case in Malaysia where someone was warded for severe internal lung damage suspected to have been caused by vaping.
In a statement to Bernama, Dr Ismuni said that there could be multiple reasons, including vaping, behind the boy's condition while appealing to the public not to speculate as investigations were continuing
"Our investigations also revealed the boy was not only suffering from severe internal lung injuries but could also be due to autoimmune disease caused by chemical exposure or vaping," the director of the Labuan Health Department was quoted as saying by Malay mail yesterday.
He, however, added that the real cause has yet to be determined as they are still examining his injuries and that the doctors were still waiting for the results from lab tests.
The Star quoted Dr Ismuni saying that while the boy was recovering, he is still in ICU.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is reportedly studying whether to implement a full ban on vape or electronic cigarettes following a worrying rise in the vaping habit among youths in the country
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye was reported saying that the ministry has set up a special committee to study and formulate a special bill on the control of vape and e-cigarettes in Malaysia.
"We are looking at some countries that have banned e-cigarettes. However, these are still available online and are even sold openly in these countries," he was quoted as saying by Daily Express.
According to the daily newspaper from Sabah, some 50 associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) throughout the country have signed a memorandum to urge the government to impose a total ban on the use of e-cigarettes and vaping immediately.
Vaping-related illness is a new condition that has not yet fully been understood by the medical community. It has so far been confined to the United States, where over 2,000 cases have been recorded.
A report by Bernama said that the public health institute of the United States (US), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has said that that the number of deaths from a mysterious lung illness linked to the use of e-cigarettes has risen to 39 in the US.
Responding to the Bernama report, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the ministry is aware of the vaping-related illness abroad and will continue to monitor the situation here.
"The Health Ministry is monitoring all the vape related illness abroad and locally," he said, adding that the ministry would take the necessary steps to deal with the situation.
The Health Ministry has said that it will be tabling a new bill on the usage of tobacco, vape, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and shisha: