KUALA LUMPUR, August 6 — In Malaysia, the illegal markets of cigarettes and vape overwhelmingly dominates. This country has been ranked at the very top among others in the world, as being a place where there are more illegal cigarettes being sold and bought than those that are legal.
Around 6 out of 10 are illegal cigarettes.
The growing illegal vaping industry is adding on to that reputation, and has apparently more than doubled in the past year.
More than 70 per cent of tobacco and vaping products in the market are estimated to be illegal.
As a result, the Malaysian government stands to lose almost RM6 billion each year from these two illegal markets.
JT International Bhd which shared these findings in a statement today, stated that despite the government already having existing legislation since 1952 to regulate all products containing nicotine, it had failed in the enforcement of those laws. It claims that vape products currently available to consumers in Malaysia are in fact, sold illegally.
JTI went on to highlight that the illegal vaping market was currently expanding rapidly via online shops and physical stores without fear of authorities cracking down on them.
Managing director Cormac O’Rourke emphasised that reforms were needed to reflect new realities and challenges in the market. Three key measures were proposed: establishment of an independent body for a taskforce on addressing the illegal market, a tax moratorium for the next three years; and a ban on transhipment of cigarettes in Malaysia.
Last July, the Ministry of Health announced the introduction of a new Tobacco Bill, intended to harmonise and streamline the regulations surrounding tobacco, vape and electronic cigarettes.