NGO: Ban on vape sale unfair to local vape industry

THE Government’s proposal to implement a ban on vape sale which will be tabled in Parliament in July is unfair to the local vape industry, said the Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA). 

Vape and traditional cigarettes are two completely different products and should not be regulated the same way, argued MVIA president Rizani Zakaria. 

“The decision made by the Health Ministry (MOH) to equate the vape and tobacco industry by imposing a ban on products is unfair to the vape industry,” he commented. 

“Internationally, various studies have shown that the two products are vastly different. In fact, it has been proven that vape is less harmful than traditional cigarettes and can help smokers quit smoking.” 

Public Health England, United Kingdom’s (UK) health agency has also reported that vape is 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.  

“This data has been recognised by other countries such as Canada, New Zealand and various public health bodies around the world. In fact, recently in the UK, vape was proposed to be a smoking cessation treatment tool,” Rizani remarked. 

Rizani Zakaria

He added that MOH is still adamant and refuses to look at the science and facts released at the international level despite this evidence being raised by various parties. 

“MVIA recommends that MOH and the Government take transparent steps in this matter and seek views and evidence from medical experts from abroad such as the UK, New Zealand and Canada, instead of choosing to listen to the opinions of the anti-vape industry only.” 

Rizani also reiterated that vape industry regulations have been delayed since 2015. In fact, based on the Budget 2022 tabling, taxation and regulations for the vape industry should be enforced in January this year. 

“To date, no action has been taken. MOH has not issued any vape guidelines for the industry to prepare for regulations, and has not conducted any consultation sessions with members from the industry,” said Rizani. 

In the tabling of Budget 2022 Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that the Government will implement a tax of RM1.20 per milliliter for vape liquids, which will take effect in January 2022.  

“However, this move was postponed to an uncertain date because MOH has not introduced any regulations for the vape industry,” Rizani pointed out. 

“Previously, the industry shared that the taxation level announced is too high and requested that the Government review the tax rate. The high tax rate will increase the prices of vape products dramatically and this will negatively impact the industry. 

“Until now, we have not received a response from the Government on this matter and now MOH wants to propose a ban on vape sales for the long-term.  

“The vape industry is requesting the Government have more discussions regarding the policy for the vape industry and we are always open to any discussion.” – April 28, 2022 

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