A video purportedly showing a young child inhaling an electronic cigarette has sparked outrage online. Police are looking for the owner of the Instagram account that posted the video.

The clip went viral before it was removed from the social media platform. The incident reportedly happened in Malaysia.

In the 12-second video, an adult hand was seen giving the vape to a boy of about 1-2 years old, who took two drags from the device before covering his mouth. Another adult hand was seen lightly smacking the child on the arm, MalayMail reported. The adult who gave the electronic cigarette to the toddler was reportedly his mother.

Police have not yet received any reports on the matter, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11) principal assistant director ACP Siti Kamsiah Hassan said. Authorities said they are in the process of identifying the owner of the Instagram account.

"We are seeking the woman for investigation and to save the child involved," Hassan said.

The video sparked an immediate backlash, with online users slamming those who gave the vape to the child.

One user commented: "This is totally child abuse....What the kid knows? By the time he knew, he probably is lying inside ICU already, healthy lung is gone."

The owner of the account later posted a message on her Instagram story saying it was made for fun and that she didn't expect a backlash from the public.

In another Instagram story, the user, whose identity was not revealed, reportedly said she has been harassed online for her actions.

"He's my son, it's my right to do whatever. I'm the one taking care of him, stupid!" the woman wrote.

Vaping or smoking e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teenagers and young adults as it contains nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also believed that if someone starts using e-cigarettes at an early age, there are high chances of them smoking cigarettes in the future.

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vaping causes slime cloak formation according to scientists Image by Trần Tiến Lộc Đỗ - Pixabay