A LOCAL vape consumer association has urged the Health Ministry (MOH) to separate vape and cigarettes, saying that it is not right to categorise both products in the same way.
The Malaysian Vapers Alliance’s (MVA) was responding to MOH’s inclusion of vape in its generational end game proposal to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2005.
“Globally, it has been recognised that vape and cigarettes are two different products. There is numerous evidence from international public health bodies showing vape to be less harmful compared to cigarettes,” said MVA president Khairil Azizi Khairuddin.
“It is wrong to have regulations for vape to mirror cigarettes. Many other countries that have regulated vape – including the UK and New Zealand – treat vape as a tool that can aid with smoking cessation.
“This proposal is sending the wrong message and as adult consumers we firmly believe that adult consumers cannot be deprived of their right to less harmful alternatives.”
Khairil further pointed out that recently in the Philippines, one million vapers have showed their support for the passage of the Vape Bill that will be introduced to regulate vape products in the Philippines separately from cigarettes.
The Vape Bill focused on preventing minors access and ensuring consumers have access to regulated products and reduce the harm caused by smoking cigarettes.
“Similarly in Malaysia, various groups, from vape industry associations, consumer groups and harm reduction advocators, have all already voiced their support for the introduction of vape regulations,” he remarked.
“Cohesively, we have called for regulations to be introduced for years now, and yet, there has been continued delay from the Ministry of Health.”
While he understood MOH’s concerns about youth vaping, Khairil noted that more importantly regulations must be quickly introduced and measures be put into place to ensure that minors do not have access to the products.
Turning to the Philippines to illustrate his point, Khairil went on to note that the ongoing Bill that is being discussed have measures including mandating all physical retail and e-commerce websites to conduct age-verification through valid government-issued identification card.
“Failure to do so will lead to it being an offence. This is the right move and needs to be emulated in Malaysia immediately,” he opined.
Khairil also added that the vape bill in the Philippines was pushed forward as there is recognition for the products to be regulated and complies to safety and product standards requirements so that consumers are not exposed to illicit and unregulated products.
“Sale of vape products are taking place nationwide in Malaysia. Government must immediately put in place regulations or product guidelines to govern the industry so that consumers are buying products that complies with the laws,” he pointed out.
“MOH cannot continue to think of only finding ways to ban vape and delay regulations while ignoring the real issue at hand.” – May 13, 2022