KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The federal government is planning to tax vape liquids containing nicotine, marking Malaysia’s move to regulate instead of ban e-cigarettes.
“The government plans to introduce excise duty on liquid or gel products containing nicotine used for electronic cigarettes and vapes,” Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said during the tabling of Budget 2022 in Parliament.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently told the World Health Organization (WHO) that Malaysia will soon regulate e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) so that they do not become accessible to schoolchildren.
Tengku Zafrul added today that the government will expand excise duties on premix sugar-sweetened beverages in line with the government’s 10-year plan and focus on healthy living as stipulated in the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) 2020-2030 blueprint.
“In our efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle, the government intends to extend the imposition of excise duty on premix sugary beverage products based on chocolate or cocoa, malt, coffee, and tea,” said Tengku Zafrul.
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, the prevalence of current smokers in Malaysia fell by 1.5 percentage points to 21.3 per cent in 2019, which corresponded with an increase in e-cigarettes use that same year.
However, it is unclear if the minimal drop in tobacco smokers was caused by a switch to e-cigarettes or vaping products.
Currently, the sale of e-cigarette liquids that contain nicotine is regulated under the Poisons Act and Sale of Drugs Act, where nicotine-containing substances can only be sold by licensed pharmacists and registered medical practitioners for medical treatment purposes only.