Unfair to ban vape sale, says MVIA

NST Sat, Apr 30, 2022 11:54am - 1 year View Original

KUALA LUMPUR: 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).

Its president Rizani Zakaria said vaping and traditional cigarettes are two completely different products and should not be regulated the same way.

"The decision made by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to equate the vape and tobacco industry by imposing a ban on products is unfair to the vape industry.

"Internationally, various studies have shown that the two products are vastly different. In fact, it has been proven that vaping is less harmful than traditional cigarettes and can help smokers quit smoking," he said in a recent statement.

He said Public Health England, United Kingdom's (UK) health agency, has also reported that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

This data has been recognised by other countries such as Canada, New Zealand and various public health bodies worldwide.

In fact, recently, vaping was proposed to be a smoking cessation treatment tool in the UK.

Rizani said that although various parties had raised this evidence, the MoH is still adamant and refuses to look at the science and facts released at the international level.

"MVIA recommends that the 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," he said.

Rizani also reiterated that the government had delayed vape industry regulations since 2015.

Based on the Budget 2022 tabling, the government should enforce taxation and regulations for the vape industry in January this year.

"To date, no action has been taken. The 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 Budget 2022 tabling, the Minister of Finance senator Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that the government would implement a tax of RM1.20 per millilitre for vape liquids, which will take effect in January 2022.

However, the government postponed this move to an uncertain date because the MoH has not introduced any regulations for the

vape industry.

"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 dramatically increase the prices of vape products, which will negatively impact the industry.

"Until now, we have not received a response from the government on this matter. And now, the MoH wants to propose a ban on vape sales for the long term," Rizani said.

He said the vape industry is requesting the government have more discussions regarding the policy for the vape industry

and MVIA is open to any discussion.

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