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Puffing Progress: The Rise of E-Cigarette Use in Malaysia

In the past decade, Malaysia has witnessed a remarkable transformation in the realm of smoking habits. According to the 2023 Malaysian Adult Tobacco Survey, the number of e-cigarette users has skyrocketed by a staggering 600% over the last 12 years. What once was a niche product has now become a popular alternative to traditional smoking. Let’s delve into the details of this smoky affair with a puff of humor and a cloud of facts.

The Meteoric Rise of E-Cigarette Use

To say that e-cigarette use in Malaysia has increased would be an understatement. In 2011, a mere 0.8% of the population indulged in this modern form of smoking. Fast forward to 2023, and that number has jumped to 5.8%. This surge represents a more than 600% increase, a leap so large it would make even the most enthusiastic e-cigarette user dizzy. The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes can be attributed to various factors, including the perception of them being a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and the allure of numerous flavors that can make a puff feel more like a dessert than a smoke.

Despite the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use, it’s important to note that not everyone in Malaysia is jumping on the vaping bandwagon. While 68.1% of adults have heard of e-cigarettes, only 8.9% have ever tried them. Breaking this down further, 10.5% of men and just 0.8% of women have taken a puff from an e-cigarette. This gender disparity suggests that e-cigarettes might still be seen as a more masculine habit, or perhaps women are just better at resisting the temptation of flavored vapor.

The Stubborn Stagnation of Smoking Cessation

Despite the increase in e-cigarette use, traditional smoking habits in Malaysia seem as hard to kick as a stubborn mule. The survey reveals that a whopping 4.8 million adults still smoke. Even more striking, 3.7 million of these individuals (14.6% of the adult population) light up daily. It appears that while some Malaysians are experimenting with e-cigarettes, a significant portion remains loyal to their old-fashioned tobacco sticks.

When it comes to quitting, the numbers are equally disheartening. The survey found that smoking cessation and health care behaviors have not seen significant improvement. This stagnation suggests that while people may be aware of the health risks associated with smoking, taking the leap to quit remains a daunting challenge. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including the addictive nature of nicotine, lack of effective cessation programs, or perhaps the simple fact that old habits die hard.

The Data Behind the Clouds: Survey Insights

The data revealing these smoking and vaping trends come from the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2023 and the Malaysian Adult Tobacco Survey 2023, which were released on May 16. These comprehensive surveys involved respondents aged 15 and above from across Malaysia, covering both urban and rural areas. A total of 5,780 randomly selected households participated, providing a robust snapshot of the country’s smoking landscape.

Interestingly, the data highlights the broad awareness of e-cigarettes, with more than two-thirds of adults having heard of them. This widespread knowledge might be attributed to aggressive marketing, social media influence, or word of mouth. However, the leap from awareness to usage indicates a more cautious approach among the populace, suggesting that while the idea of vaping is well-known, the act of switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes is a step that not everyone is ready to take.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Smoking in Malaysia

As Malaysia grapples with the rising tide of e-cigarette use and the persistent challenge of traditional smoking, the future remains clouded – quite literally. The data suggests that while there is a significant shift towards e-cigarettes, traditional smoking habits are deeply ingrained and difficult to change. Public health campaigns and smoking cessation programs will need to adapt and evolve to address both the rise of e-cigarette use and the stubborn persistence of traditional smoking.

In the meantime, the landscape of smoking in Malaysia continues to evolve. Whether it’s the allure of new-age e-cigarettes or the comforting familiarity of traditional tobacco, Malaysians are faced with choices that will shape their health and well-being. As we move forward, one thing is certain: the conversation about smoking, in all its forms, is far from over. So, next time you see a cloud of vapor, remember – it’s not just smoke, it’s a sign of changing times.


The 2023 Malaysian Adult Tobacco Survey has unveiled a dramatic 600% increase in e-cigarette use over the past 12 years, with current users rising to 5.8% in 2023 from 0.8% in 2011. Despite the surge in vaping, traditional smoking habits remain entrenched, with 4.8 million adults still smoking, and 3.7 million of them smoking daily. The survey, part of the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2023, also noted that 68.1% of adults are aware of e-cigarettes, although only 8.9% have tried them. These findings highlight the evolving smoking landscape in Malaysia, as public health efforts strive to address both the rise of e-cigarettes and the persistent challenge of smoking cessation. This news underscores the complexities of tobacco use in Malaysia and the need for targeted interventions.

Vape Breaker Team

A professional team of 7 e-cigarette enthusiasts from all over the world. We are committed to providing e-cigarette users around the world with the most professional e-cigarette reviews, the latest information, and the most comprehensive guides, etc.

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