Regulate the vape industry soonest to reap its economic potential

THE slow progress over legalising vape is economically regressive as there is so much potential to tap from the industry.

Although an excise duty has been imposed on devices for all electronic and non-electronic cigarettes including vape alongside liquid used in electronic cigarettes, the Malaysian Government has yet to firm up the regulation over nicotine vape products.

As pointed out by TA Securities Research in its latest review on British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, there are tremendous opportunities in legalising nicotine vape, notably:

  • Protecting more than a million vapers who are currently using unregulated vape products;
  • Strengthening over 3,000 established SME vape retailers; and
  • Generating tax revenue of circa RM300 mil for the Malaysian Government.

“We understand that discussions are being made but it would take months before there is a breakthrough over the regulations,” revealed analyst Jeff Lye Zhen Xiong in a company update.

A similar sentiment has been echoed by the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) in its recently launched Study on the Malaysian Vaping Industry report which found that consumers switch to vape as a means to quit smoking cigarettes or because it is less harmful.

In tandem with the growing vape ecosystem in Malaysia, the MVCC is urging Putrajaya to introduce comprehensive regulations and standards on devices and vape e-liquids – especially those with nicotine – as many other developed countries have done.

“Countries like the UK, New Zealand and Canada recognise the role vape plays in helping smokers kick the habit and in exposing them to less harm than traditional cigarettes,” MVCC president Syed Azaudin Syed Ahmad pointed out.

The Study on the Malaysian Vaping Industry has found that the vape industry in Malaysia is worth RM2.27 bil annually, involving some 3,300 businesses and 15,000 employees.

Very broadly, the vape industry is seen to have great potential as it has grown into a matured industry with a strong ecosystem within the country, creating its own ring of manufacturers, importers and retailers, with a majority of the workforce coming from the Bumiputera community.

Due to this, the Malaysian E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (MEVTA) has backed the call by MVCC) in urging the Government to take immediate steps to regulate the vape industry, thus allowing it to reach its full potential.

“There are many local entrepreneurs that have invested in the vape industry over the past decade, growing this sector into a strong ecosystem,” shared MEVTA deputy secretary general Syamil Hanafiah.

“We believe many more local entrepreneurs will enter this market, driven by domestic and foreign investment, if regulations are introduced in Malaysia,” – Feb 23, 2021

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