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Local industry players push back against GEG for vapes, urge govt to stop restrictions on importing nicotine vape products

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Local vape industry players today pushed back against the Health Ministry’s (MoH) proposal for a Generation End Game (GEG) for vape usage.

The 11 vape businesses and organisations also urged the MoH to withdraw existing restrictions and bans on the import of nicotine-containing vape products to allow products to be imported legally and pay taxes.

“Recently, the industry was told by the authorities from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department that the import of nicotine-containing vape products was still banned and disallowed by MoH and despite the issue being brought up to the authorities at MoH, the matter was still unresolved.

“This measure is unfair and goes against the government’s announcement to begin regulation and taxing of vape products that have begun since two weeks ago,” they said in a statement.

The statement referred to a meeting held with Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni and other MoF officials to discuss the direction of regulations after nicotine-laced vape liquids have been exempted from the Poisons Act 1952 to begin being regulated and taxed.

During the meeting, local vape industry players had opposed the MoH’s proposal to implement the GEG suggested by former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, citing concerns about the impact of such a move to the industry and saying that more research had to be done before any decisions could be made.

“The industry also recommends that the MoH views vapes as a less harmful product than cigarettes to reduce the number of smokers in the country,” it said.

The 11 local vape businesses and organisations also attended this meeting and include Malaysia Retail Electronic Cigarette Association (MRECA), NSTY Worldwide Sdn Bhd, Vape Empire Distribution Sdn Bhd, Dewan Perniagaan Vape Malaysia (DPVM), Bangsawan Distribution Sdn Bhd, Persatuan Peniaga Vape Melayu Malaysia (PPVM), Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA), Gadget Union Distribution, The Vape69 Sdn Bhd, VV Venture Sdn Bhd, and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Terkini Negeri Sembilan.

Earlier this month, local e-cigarettes and vape industry players urged the MoH to include them in the process of developing rules and regulations after the recent tax policy introduced by the government.

MVIA said that this is important to address the details of the liquid nicotine that will be publicly available since it was excluded from the controlled substance under the Poisons Act 1952.

Previously, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim apologised for the delay in tabling the Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, saying that several MPs have requested that some of the provisions in the Bill be studied again, which then warranted further discussions.

On April 1, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said her ministry will table a new law to regulate nicotine use which will include the GEG policy, after Putrajaya gazetted an excise duty for vape liquids with nicotine content at 40 sen per millilitre.

She said the MoH aims to present the new Bill immediately at the next Parliament sitting in May.

During the tabling of Budget 2023 on February 24, Anwar, who is also the finance minister, announced that the government will impose an excise duty on liquid or gel products containing nicotine, with half the revenue to be allocated to the Health Ministry.

He said that the liquid or gel products with nicotine — estimated to be worth RM2 billion in potential government revenue — were widely used with electronic cigarettes and vaping, despite this being technically illegal.