Vape Industry Touts Self-Regulation After Meeting Deputy Health Minister

After meeting Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni, a vape company says the industry was reminded to “self-regulate” to avoid sales to minors.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – Vape industry leaders have pledged to “self-regulate” their products after a stakeholder meeting with Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni.

Adzwan Ab Manas, who identifies himself as the chairman and director of Vapempire Distribution Sdn Bhd, took to Facebook yesterday to share an update on the vape industry’s recent meeting with Lukanisman. 

“Together with the Deputy Minister of Health in a stakeholder engagement with the industry. We try to do our best. Industry players are reminded not to take advantage by selling to those under 18 years old and so on. Let’s discipline ourselves while earning. #SelfRegulate,” Adzwan posted, along with a photo of several industry players with Lukanisman.

Lukanisman did not respond to CodeBlue’s requests for comment. 

A vanilla-flavoured vape. Picture credit: CodeBlue.

The extent to which the vape industry in Malaysia will self-regulate remains unclear. Currently, vape shops in Malaysia are selling some products with up to 5 per cent nicotine content without any warning labels or information regarding the nicotine content on the packaging. 

In contrast, countries like Canada have put in place regulations that limit the maximum nicotine concentration allowed for vaping products manufactured or imported for sale to 20mg/mL or 2 per cent. 

Canada’s Nicotine Concentration in Vaping Products Regulations (NCVPR) further prohibit the packaging and sale of vaping products if the nicotine concentration displayed on the package exceeds 20 mg/mL. Prior to this regulation, Canada allowed for a maximum nicotine concentration of 66 mg/mL or more than 6 per cent.

Regulations in the European Union and the United Kingdom also restrict e-cigarette liquids used in vaping devices to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml or 2 per cent.

Pharmacist Fahmi Hassan pointed out on Twitter that “self-regulation” violates the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The Malaysian vape industry’s pledge comes in response to concerns about the sale of vaping products to minors and other potential health risks, following the government’s decision to declassify liquid and gel nicotine used in e-cigarettes and vape from the Poisons Act 1952.

Public health experts, groups, and advocates have expressed their shock and concern in recent weeks following Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa’s decision to override the Poisons Board’s unanimous rejection of a government proposal to declassify liquid nicotine as a controlled substance.

Most recently, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) rector Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak – a pharmacist and one of the country’s most respected toxicologists – criticised the move as “undemocratic” and “unethical”, calling it a “betrayal” of public health. 

Separately, Suhakam Children’s Commissioner Farah Nini Dusuki, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya’s law faculty with over three decades’ experience in human rights and child law, described the declassification of liquid nicotine as a scheduled poison – legally allowing minors access to e-cigarettes with nicotine – goes against the “spirit” of the Child Act 2001.

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