Ban On Vape Is Against A Cabinet Decision Made In 2015 Says Industry Players
According to media reports, the Cabinet adopted the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which names vape as a product that will eventually be prohibited from being sold.
This move will impact the vape industry, as Malaysia has a complete ecosystem consisting of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
"The government should consider the potential of the vape industry in Malaysia and the impact of this policy on the local industry," says Rizani Zakaria, President of Malaysian Vape Industry Advocaacy.
Rizani says rreviously, the Government had decided not to ban vape in 2015 saying instead regulations would be introduced for the local vape industry.
At that time, YAB Dato ’Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced that vape would not be banned due to the potential of the local vape industry in Malaysia to compete globally.
Through the years, the industry has been advocating for the Government to introduce laws and regulations for the vape industry. However, this drastic move shows that the Government is making a ‘U-turn’ by banning the vape industry from operating in the future.
MVIA urges the Government to review this policy as every drastic step taken will lead to one problem after another. In this case, it will only result in future users turning to unregulated products.
MVIA also requests for the Government to review scientific evidence on vape which has shown vape to be less harmful and capable in reducing the country's smoking rate.
Ridhwan Rosli, secretary general of the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC), joins Rizani in denouncing the government's action.
The Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce does not agree with the decision made by the Government to ban the vape industry, says Ridhwan.
Since 2015, the vape industry has advocated for its recognition as a legitimate industry.
The government has decided to restrict the vape sector in the future, with a strategy to outlaw vaping for everyone born after 2005, according to media reports this week.
This means individuals born after 2005 and reaching adulthood in the next 10 years will be deemed criminals for owning and using vape products.
"This policy carelessly equates vape with drugs and this is a very wrong message. It also encourages the black market because the demand for the product is very high, without supply in the legal market. Consumers will try various means to obtain the product, and suppliers (smugglers) will find ways to provide the items through the black market," says Ridhwan.
Furthermore, he says that the Ministry of Health has yet to share its decision on the introduction of vape regulations and has not involved the industry in discussions to regulate the vape industry.
"This decision will have a significant impact on the local industry which is worth RM2.27 billion.
"In fact, it will impact more than 3,000 local businesses in Malaysia and send the wrong message to foreign investors. MVCC calls for the Government to review this decision and give due consideration to the vape industry," he says.