Malaysia's National Fatwa Council has issued a fatwa declaring the use of electronic cigarettes as 'haram' or forbidden for Muslims. The decision was reached after a special council meeting held on 21 December.

The council said that e-cigarettes could be equated to drinking poison and smoking conventional cigarettes. The decision was also based on public interest and "preventing a possibly huge and dangerous outcome" for the future generation.

The council examined studies and looked at them from the syariah, medical and scientific aspects as well as taking into account of wastage and an unhealthy culture. The meeting lasted more than two hours.

Professor Emeritus Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, the chair, said: "From the syariah aspect, it is detrimental to health. Islam forbids its followers from using things that can harm them directly or indirectly; immediately or gradually that can lead to death, damage the body, result in dangerous illnesses or harm the mind."

He continued: "E-cigarettes and vapes are categorised as repulsive due to its harming effects and bad smell. They also have an element of wastage, which is by spending money on things that are harmful and non-beneficial."

Dr Abdul Shukor said: "We are seeing women and school children showing interest in vape. The decision is made to prevent an unhealthy culture from spreading to future generations.

He urged all the states that have yet to issue a fatwa on e-cigarettes to use the National Fatwa Council's decision as their reference. Four states in Malaysia - Penang, Kedah, Johor and Kelantan have banned e-cigarettes for Muslims.