Don’t ban vape, allow nicotine sales, say traders

MVCC is suggesting to cap the nicotine level at 5% of the total liquid content


THE Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) pleaded against the outlawing of vape — once a lucrative industry — as the domestic e-cigarette demand is still in tandem with the global market.

MVCC president Syed Azaudin Syed Ahmad said the government should instead consider allowing the sales of regulated liquid with nicotine, which has been restricted since 2015, in the upcoming law-making process.

In 2015, the Health Ministry (MoH) suggested for vapes to be sold at pharmacies as nicotine liquids are controlled items, which led to vape traders only selling nicotine-free product.

The regulation progress has however been quiet since then, causing black markets to grow in the vaping industry for the last four years.

“The industry supports regulations for vape to be introduced as soon as possible and to take into consideration the direction and development of this industry, especially in the use of vape liquid with nicotine.

“In the UK, Canada, New Zealand and neighbouring Asean countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, the sale are allowed as the amount of nicotine in the liquid is capped,” Syed Azaudin said in a statement last Friday.

MVCC suggested that the government cap the nicotine level at 5% of the total liquid content.

“This is consistent with other countries which have regulated the vape industry,” he added.

Presently, vapes or e-cigarettes containing nicotine are banned under the Poisons Act 1952 unless they are registered as medicinal.

Last Friday, The Malaysian Reserve reported that the government is expected to table a new Act which covers all smoking products including vapes and e-cigarettes in Parliament by early next year, mulling a stricter law for such products.

The MoH said the new Tobacco Control and Smoking Act has been developed and drafted since 2015 and it will regulate all smoking products including e-cigarettes based on a Cabinet decision in 2016.

“MoH will be imposing stricter regulations for cigarettes and other smoking products including e-cigarettes without nicotine in the new proposed Act,” the MoH said, adding that the pro-posed law is in its final review.

The ministry also said the decision will be in line with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control whereby parties are required to either ban or regulate the use of the products.

Syed Azaudin refuted the idea to ban vape, saying it will impact negatively on the economy. It would also send a message that the government supports the cigarette industry, despite also containing harmful nicotine.

“The local industry is developing in parallel to the global level. It has created more jobs in Malaysia, attracts domestic and foreign investments and contributed millions of ringgit to the country’s economy apart from reducing the number of cigarette smokers,” he said.

He also hoped that the government would take an objective approach in the formation of the regulatory framework, not deciding based on the recent misuse of marijuana in vape, as recently reported in the US.

Earlier, Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) claimed that over 5,000 enterprises including some 1,800 vape shop owners will be impacted by the new law enforcement.

Mevta estimated the e-cigarette market to value between RM1.5 billion and RM2 billion a year, serving about 1.2 million e-cigarette users.