KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The government should reconsider a proposed law to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and vaporisers to Malaysians born after 2005, said two groups that warned that the move could devastate an industry worth RM2.27 billion.
Malaysia E-Vaporisers & Tobacco Alternative Association (MEVTA) president Mohamad Neezam Talib said that while cigarettes and vapes were different and should not be equated, both were lumped together under the proposed law.
“Vapes are a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and can help hardcore smokers quit smoking.
“The government should see vape as a method to reduce the number of smokers in the country as it has proven effective in other countries. This policy sends the wrong message to smokers today because it equates cigarettes and vape as products with the same risks,” he said in a joint statement with Malaysia Retail Electronic Cigarette Association (MRECA) president Datuk Adzwan Ab Manas.
Adzwan said Malaysia’s vape industry mainly comprised Bumiputera entrepreneurs who would be the most affected if the ban were to be imposed.
“The fate of the RM2.27 billion industry as well as 15,000 employees and 3,000 vape businesses in Malaysia will be affected if the government does not give due consideration with this ban.
“Malaysia is considered as one of the leading vape producers in the world. It also has great potential to attract domestic and foreign investors. With this policy, it will stunt the potential of Malaysia as a producer of vape products in the world,” he added.
The duo said that the government should instead develop a regulatory framework for the vape industry, which has been repeatedly delayed, and which would classify them differently from tobacco products.
Last week, New Straits Times (NST) reported Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin saying that the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill was approved by the Cabinet on July 13.
He reportedly said that the Bill would be tabled in the current parliamentary meeting.
The proposed Bill essentially prevents those born on January 1, 2005 and onwards from ever purchasing tobacco and tobacco-related products, even when they become 18 years’ old or the current legal age for consumption.