A LOCAL vape consumer association today urged the Government to develop vape regulations that are based on evidence and science ahead of the upcoming parliamentary session which is expected to underline regulations for the vape industry.
Malaysian Vapers Alliance (MVA) which champions the use of less harmful products such as vape to help smokers quit issued such statement to emphasise the importance of the drafting regulations that protect the safety of vape users while offering quality, effective, less harmful alternatives to smoking.
“While the Government has indicated a willingness to regulate the vape industry through requiring devices to be SIRIM-certified and taxes on vape liquids, regulations as a whole are lacking,” commented MVA’s president Khairil Azizi Khairuddin.
“Where health regulations are concerned, vape products are lumped together with cigarettes despite the fact that there are much fewer risks tied to vaping compared to smoking.”
At the forthcoming Parliamentary session which begins on July 18, the Health Ministry (MOH) is expected to table a set of regulations to curtail smoking and vaping, including banning the sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2005 (Generation End Game), restricting publicly displaying cigarette products for sale and implementing plain packaging on cigarettes.
On this note, MVA recommends the introduction of a specific regulatory framework for vaping that is differentiated from traditional tobacco and is evidence-based.
“Regulations must strike a balance to ensure vaping products are available and accessible to smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative and to ensure that these products are not marketed or sold to those below the age of 18,” Khairil pointed out.
In describing how regulations should be differentiated, Khairil shared that “in addition to ensuring easy accessibility of vape products to encourage smokers to switch from traditional cigarettes, regulations must also allow businesses to engage in promotional activities targeted at smokers with the aim of educating them on the concept of harm reduction.”
In addition to developing a specific regulatory framework for vape, MVA also urged the Government to ensure pricing for vape products remained affordable.
Under Budget 2022, the Government has proposed a tax of RM1.20 per millilitre of vape liquid (nicotine and non-nicotine) which has yet to be implemented. MVA is of the view that the proposed excise duty is too high and will result in extremely high prices for vape liquids.
“This move will dis-incentivise vape users from using less harmful alternatives and will instead push them toward black market products. In the worst-case scenario, they may even revert back to using traditional cigarettes,” cautioned Khairil.
In this regard, MVA recommends that the Government maintains the existing excise duty of 40 sen per millilitre for non-nicotine vape liquid and expand this taxation framework to include nicotine liquids.
“This way, vape products will remain affordable to smokers who want to switch while also providing the Government with additional revenue,” added Khairil. – July 10, 2022