Introduce guidelines for vape industry immediately as interim measure, Putrajaya told

THE Health Ministry (MOH) should introduce guidelines for the vape industry immediately as an interim measure as the vape regulations which were planned to be passed at the recent Parliament was delayed, said a vape industry representative. 

The vape industry has been calling for regulations since 2015 and in this time in addition to developing the industry, industry players have self-regulated and adhered to high standards to ensure no products are sold to minors, said Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) president Rizani Zakaria. 

“This delay is very disappointing because the industry needs a certainty to move forward. There is no final word from the Government on what the vape industry can or cannot do despite multiple discussions to regulate the industry,” he commented. 

“According to the 2022 Budget, there would be a tax implementation on vape liquids with nicotine. However, this too has been postponed without any timeframe given on implementation.  

“With the delay in vape regulations, the industry which has more than 15,000 employees and more than 3,000 local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will continue to be left without any definite direction from the Government.” 

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin previously said that the tabling of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill in Parliament to regulate vape and tobacco has been postponed and as such the regulations and taxation related to nicotine vape were unable to be implemented. 

Rizani Zakaria

In Oct 2021 during the tabling of Budget 2022 Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz had announced the implementation of an excise duty of RM1.20 per ml on nicotine gels or liquids for vape and electronic cigarettes. 

The excise duty which was supposed to be implemented from Jan 1, 2022 has been postponed as the MOH has not yet exempted nicotine vape liquids from the Poisons Act 1952 because the Government has not yet implemented a law to regulate vape products. 

Rizani added that the current situation is detrimental to the industry, consumers and the Government. 

“The vape industry does not have any indication on the laws and standards of vape liquids that contain nicotine,” he remarked. 

“At the same time, consumers continue to buy non-standard products while the Government does not regulate or tax vape products. The uncertainty also sends the wrong message to international and domestic investors in the industry.” 

Rizani added that there is a solution to this problem if the Government is serious about implementing vape regulations. 

“As an interim measure while waiting for vape regulations, the Government should first develop a guideline for the industry,” he opined, adding that the guidelines should provide a clear direction to local industry players on what can and cannot be done in sales activities to ensure that there are no sales to minors. 

“In addition, the guidelines should also provide guidance on the packaging of vape products, the permitted content in vape liquids including the amount of nicotine allowed. This way, the guidelines can help the industry prepare for regulations when the law is passed.” – March 23, 2022 

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