Smoking electronic cigarettes and vaping has been declared "haram" in Malaysia, the country's national fatwa council announced.

A range of scientific studies showed smoking e-cigarettes was harmful to the human body and vaping was equal to drinking poison so, therefore, Muslims are prohibited from indulging, the National Fatwa Council said.

"The council finds that the consumption of something that is harmful, whether direct or indirectly, purposely or not, could lead to harm or death - so this will not be allowed," Islamic Sharia Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said. 

"The decision made on Monday is parallel to that made in several Islamic countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, or United Arab Emirates," Husin said.

E-cigarettes are already banned for Muslims in four Malaysian states.

On Monday, Rolling Stone magazine said in the United States the "dominant message regarding e-cigs is that they are a menace ... despite the fact that they contain no tobacco, long understood to be the source of the carcinogens that make smoking the leading cause of preventable death worldwide".

In August, Public Health England (PHE) said - in what was seen at the time as a landmark statement - that vaping was safer than smoking and could lead to the demise of the traditional cigarette.

The health body said e-cigarettes were about 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

It also said e-cigarettes "have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco".

 UK approves e-cigarettes as healthier alternative

Source: Al Jazeera