PETALING JAYA, Jan 3 — The Cabinet’s decision to entrust three ministries to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping is the answer vape aficionados nationwide were looking forward to.
Vape Operators Association of Penang president Muhammad Hafidz Adnan, however, said there were suggestions the authorities could consider before finalizing the rules and regulations.
He proposed electronic cigarettes be sold in stores registered with the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to ensure the devices’ were not compromised.
“With this announcement, it is our hope the ministries would curb the sale of electronic cigarettes online as it would be tricky to regulate. Safety of vapers comes into play here and sales should only be allowed via licensed stores,” he said in a statement.
He said the association was looking forward to work with state executive councillor for health Dr Afif Bahardin and the local government in obtaining business licences for vape shops in Penang.
“This engagement is much needed to allow the association become a communication platform between vape shop operators and local authorities,” he said.
Malaysian E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association president Rizani Zakaria called on the government to speed up the issuance of business licences for vape operators as it had been a long waiting game for industry players.
“Our long-awaited request is finally answered. We hope they speed up giving licenses to operators to conduct business with an easy mind,” he said.
Rizani said all five states — Penang, Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu — which imposed a ban on vape should consider lifting the prohibition to grant opportunities for shop operators who have been in the business for years.
“Most traders are experienced and conduct their businesses in accordance to the rules. The relevant state authorities should perhaps consider giving them a chance to operate once the new legislations were in place,” he said.
Malaysian Organisation for Vape Entity (Move) secretary Syamsul Reza Mohd Mokhtar said the decision put Malaysia on the map as one of the first few countries to regulate the vape industry.
“We will be known as the one of the pioneers and this will definitely get a cheer and applause from vapers around the world,” he said.
He said the much-anticipated decision would convince vapers to swap their tobacco cigarettes for electronic cigarettes instead, and subsequently boost the local vape industry.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet tasked the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry with regulating and enforcing safety standards for electronic cigarette devices and batteries and vaping devices under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (Act 599).
It would also regulate and enforce the marking and labelling of electronic cigarette devices and nicotine-free liquid and vapes through the various Trade Descriptions Acts.
Under the new act, the licensing, production, distribution including import, export and sale of electronic cigarette devices, nicotine-free liquid and vapes would be monitored by the ministry.
The Health Ministry would regulate the sale of e-liquid containing nicotine under the Poisons Act 1952 and Sale of Drugs Act 1952, which only permit licensed pharmacies and registered medical practitioners to sell preparations containing nicotine for medical treatment.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, through the Department of Standards Malaysia, would develop standards for e-cigarettes batteries and devices and the packaging of nicotine-free, e-liquid and vapes under the Standards of Malaysia Act 1996.
Following the decision, the Health Ministry will draft a new law to replace the Tobacco Control 2004 Regulations, while the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry would draft a new law relating to the control of electronic cigarettes and vaping within the next two years.