Vaping associations hopeful for regulations from new govt

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by AFP

THE Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) is hopeful that regulations for the vape community will progress smoothly and more support will be given with the new leadership in the government.

In the 2021 Budget, it was announced that an excise tax will be implemented for vape devices and e-liquids without nicotine.

In a joint statement, MVIA and the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) said despite discussions on the vape industry starting long ago, nothing was implemented but with the new appointments, it is a good time for the government to make decisions.

MVIA president Rizani Zakaria said the constant change in the country’s leadership has disrupted discussions on the implementation of regulations, resulting in an industry unsure of its future.

“We hope that the government will consider the recommendations put forward by the vape industry to introduce regulations as well as to introduce an excise tax on e-liquids with nicotine in the tabling of the 2022 Budget, as a continuation of the measures implemented last year,” he said.

Rizani suggested for the government to introduce specific regulations for the industry immediately so that it can thrive in an environment which can benefit multiple parties.

“We are ready to work with the government to discuss and provide our views on this,” he said.

Meanwhile, MVCC head of information Ashraf Rozali said the existence of a regulated industry can expand in domestic and global markets, while drawing attention from foreign investors.

“The local vape industry is currently estimated to be worth RM2.27 billion involving 3,300 businesses with more than 15,000 employees. There are more than one million vape users in Malaysia.

“If the local vape industry is regulated, we believe it can grow significantly to compete with other major industries,” he said.

He also added that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar had previously urged the government to implement regulations for the industry.

“In 2015, Khairy who was then the Youth and Sports Minister, did not agree with the proposal to ban the use of vape, as traditional cigarettes were allowed for sale governed by regulations.

“In fact, he was quoted in the media saying that vape has shown evidence of lower health risks compared to cigarettes based on studies done in European countries.

“Now as the health minister, we hope he will help speed up the implementation of regulations based on facts and evidence shown in European countries so that industry players operate within a regulated ecosystem,” Ashraf said.