KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 – A vaping association has denounced proposals to ban e-cigarettes, saying vaping can help smokers kick the habit.
“If there is a plan to ban vape, the ban should be imposed on cigarettes first and followed by vape. We maintained since the early days that vape is an alternative to cigarettes for those who want to gradually quit smoking,” Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) vice president Niezam Talib told The Malaysian Reserve.
“Why deter vaping that contain nicotine when we have quit smoking clinic where nicotine is provided. The point is the same. It is just that the smoker wants to do it his way. And if vape is that bad, why vape shops are allowed to be opened in hospitals in the UK?”
Recently, two hospitals in England rolled out vape shops as part of an initiative to make the hospitals entirely “smoke-free”, with cigarette shelters turned into vaping areas, The Telegraph reported.
Mevta’s disagreement with banning vaping products came after Reuters reported that the government is planning to regulate the sale and use of e-cigarettes and vaporisers under a new Tobacco Control and Smoking Act that the Health Ministry hopes to table in Parliament next year.
The Health Ministry wants to club e-cigarettes and vaporisers together with tobacco products under a single law that would prohibit promotions and advertising, usage in public areas, and use by minors.
Niezam said a law on e-cigarettes would affect over 5,000 businesses, including 1,800 vape shop owners, as he called for consultations between the government and industry players.
He also stressed that the Cabinet’s position was not to ban vaping, but to regulate the industry.
“We will follow the government’s policy on vaping. But we have seen a double standard though, particularly when compared to combustible cigarettes.
“Over the years, we have not received full information on any decision to be made and there is no answer that we can hold on to,” Niezam told The Malaysian Reserve.
Yesterday, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) called upon the government to impose a total ban on e-cigarettes and vaping products in the country, claiming such devices have also been used by underage children.
Niezam suggested stricter rules such as age verification for online purchases could be introduced to curb this problem under the regulatory scheme.
Mevta members had been implementing the policy of not allowing minors to walk in and shop, he further added.
As of yesterday, 17 deaths have been recorded in the US due to lung diseases linked to vaping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that e-cigarette products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could be the cause of the outbreak.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and THC-containing vape products are not sold here as marijuana is illegal in Malaysia.