Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image


Malaysia’s lower house of parliament passes contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership bill

The lower house of Malaysia’s parliament passed a bill allowing the country to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday, clearing a crucial hurdle for the government to sign the free trade pact next month.

In the chamber in which the ruling National Front coalition controls nearly two-thirds of the 222 seats, the bill was approved after two days of heated debate, with 127 legislators voting for versus 84 against.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad, who tabled the motion on Tuesday seeking approval from the lower house to allow the government to sign and ratify the deal, assured the legislators that Malaysian social agendas will not be compromised.

“The TPP will not change our economic model,” he said in a speech before voting began.

In reference to the mix of capitalism and socialism that Malaysia practices, he said: “We will continue to have the ‘bumiputera’ policy, social enterprises.”

“Bumiputera” or “prince of soil” refers mainly to the ethnic Malays, who make up some 60 per cent of the country’s 29 million population and who enjoy special privileges through the state’s affirmative-action policy due to the perception that they are still weak economically compared to the minority ethnic Chinese.

The “bumiputera” issue is particularly sensitive to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whose party, the United Malays National Organisation, depends heavily on the Malay voting bloc.

The opposition’s main arguments revolved around fear of the government losing sovereignty especially over the investor-state dispute settlement chapter and the “bumiputera” policy, which comes under the government procurement and state-owned enterprise chapters. They also spoke out over concern that the price of medicine will rise as a result of a longer patent-protection period under the intellectual property rights chapter.

But Mustapa said the TPP recognised the “bumiputera” policy and the country is given a longer transition period and higher thresholds in certain sectors in order to allow the Malays to play catch up.

Outside parliament, a dozen or so activists bearing placards with slogans such as “Malaysia Is Not For Sale” and “TPP Agenda Amerika” camped out overnight in a show of protest against the TPP.

Nashita Md Noor, a 50-year-old social activist, believed Malaysia is not ready for the TPP.

“It is the big companies that will benefit, not the people. Also, the TPP will open the door for big multinational companies to come in and our local small businesses will lose out,” she said.

Although aware she is fighting a futile battle to thwart the deal, Nashita said, “It’s symbolic that there are people brave enough to fight the current government who are not doing anything good.”

According to a World Bank report released earlier this month, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan will reap significant double-digit bumps in their exports by joining the TPP.

The TPP will open the door for big multinational companies to come in and our local small businesses will lose out

Social activist

It said the TPP will boost Malaysia’s exports by 20 per cent in 2030 while its gross domestic product will rise by 8 per cent. This is in sharp contrast to the United States, the largest economy in the 12-member bloc, which it said will see a gain of only 0.4 per cent in its GDP.

The TPP negotiations were concluded last October after five years of intense wrangling.

Besides Malaysia and the United States, others in the pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which together account for about one-third of global economic output.

With the passage of the deal in the lower house, it will be brought for deliberation and voting in the Senate on Thursday, where it is expected to be easily passed since the National Front also dominates the upper chamber.

The 12 member countries are scheduled to sign the trade pact on February 4 in Auckland, New Zealand. After which, the government has two year to ratify the pact.

Mustapa has said Malaysia still needs to amend 17 laws involving customs, intellectual property rights, labour, among others, to ensure “best practices” under the TPP.

Source URL:

‘Un-Islamic’ vaping catches fire in Malaysia, amid government backlash

At Malaysian e-cigarette outlet Vape Empire, customers kick back and puff out thick, aromatic clouds of vapour in funky flavours like Horny Mango and Creamy Suckerz’ Banana Anna.

“Vaping” is soaring in popularity in Malaysia, the largest e-cigarette market in the Asia-Pacific region, but authorities are threatening to ban the habit for health reasons – a move that has sparked anger from growing legions of aficionados.

Backing a ban, Malaysian religious leaders this month declared a fatwa on the “un-Islamic” habit, but it remains to be seen whether the decree will dampen enthusiasm.

“The business is growing very fast because there are many people trying to convert from tobacco smoking to vaping,” Vape Empire’s co-founder Muhammad Sharifuddin Esa said, adding that his business has expanded to 57 locations since it opened just two years ago.

The pastime has proved a particular hit in the moderate, Muslim-majority nation, where other vices such as alcohol and drugs are especially frowned upon.

Now several Malaysian states say they may impose a ban from January 1 and have threatened to stop issuing new merchants’ licences – a potential blow to a sector worth an estimated US$650 million last year, according to reports.

The industry, which is expected to grow by more than 13 per cent year-on-year to 2025, is currently unregulated, and many say forbidding e-cigarettes – already outlawed in Thailand and Singapore for health reasons – is a big mistake.

“The government must regulate and not ban, because vaping is the future,” Sharifuddin said.

Research on health risks remains split and like Malaysia, few countries have introduced national legislation to regulate the sector.

The devices function by heating flavoured nicotine liquid – or e-juice – into a vapour that is inhaled, much like traditional cigarettes but without the smoke.

Some experts warn vaping can produce cancer-causing formaldehyde and one US study said vaping is up to 15 times more harmful than traditional tobacco smoking. The World Health Organisation has called on governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

But other research suggests vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes and manufacturers tout them as harmless aids to quit tobacco.

Enthusiasts in Malaysia say banning the habit doesn’t make economic sense.

“Vaping communities are fighting for their rights because the vape scene actually brings profits to the country,” said Muhammad Imman, marketing manager of the colourfully named Fcuking Flava vape shop, one of thousands that have popped up across the country.

Marketers cater to local tastes, selling e-juice flavoured with snake fruit, lychee and even durian, the notoriously pungent Southeast Asian fruit.

The juices are marketed like single-malt whiskies or perfumes, as seen at a recent vaping convention in Kuala Lumpur, their creators extolling organic and other premium ingredients.

Aficionados gather daily in Malaysia’s vape shops, sometimes for “cloud chasing” competitions to see who can produce the biggest vapour puffs and to show off vape prowess by blowing rings into the foggy air.

A growing number of amateur merchants have emerged across the country, where about a million people smoke e-cigarettes, a five-fold surge since last year, according to the Malaysia E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alternative Association (MEVTA) activist group.

Making e-juice is a simple process that involves mixing readily available ingredients – water, flavouring, nicotine and other easy-to-access chemical compounds.

On a Kuala Lumpur street recently, a vendor set up a table arrayed with a range of flavours, from guava to lychee on sale for about 30 ringgit (US$7).

“Mine are the best,” he boasted to passing office workers. But some bottles looked old and reused, and he was tight-lipped on the e-juice’s origin.

Other more mainstream Malaysian manufacturers have struck deals to distribute their goods elsewhere in Asia and as far afield as Europe, as Malaysian flavours become popular overseas.

The habit doesn’t appear to be losing steam at home, especially among former smokers.

“I actually have reduced the level of nicotine when I vape,” said officer worker Nicolas Chan, speaking between puffs on his lunch break.

“I feel better and have more energy after quitting cigarettes and starting to vape.”
Source URL:

Fatwa declares e-cig, vaping ‘haram’ for Muslims in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur: Smoking e-cigarettes and vaping has been declared ‘haram’ for Muslims in Malaysia, the country’s national fatwa council has announced. The council after a special meeting decided to issue fatwa declaring e-cigarettes and vaping ‘haram’—forbidden for Muslims.

Islamic Sharia Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said that based on scientific studies, they have found that vaping does not benefit users.

“The council finds that the consumption of something that is harmful, whether direct or indirectly, purposely or not, could lead to harm or death; so this will not be allowed,” he told reporters here.

Shukor noted that vaping could be considered as something that was distasteful in Islam and could be harmful to the users.

“From the Shariah perspective, Muslims cannot consume something that is harmful to their health or indulge in things that are wasteful,” he said.

He said authorities had the power to ban the use of vape and electronic cigarettes if they had an impact on public health.

E-cigarettes, which provide a nicotine hit without the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco, are already banned for Muslims in four Malaysian states, as well as several other Muslim countries, including Kuwait and the UAE.

Islamic fatwa declared on e-cigs: Vaping is forbidden for Muslims, declares chief Malaysian cleric

• Smoking e-cigarettes has now been declared ‘haram’ in Malaysia
• A fatwa has been issued forbidding Muslims from using them
• An estimated 2.6million people in the UK use e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes and vaping has been declared ‘haram’ – forbidden for Muslims – in Malaysia, its national fatwa council announced Monday.

A fatwa has been issued after a special meeting of Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council, stating vaping is equal to drinking poison.

Electronic cigarettes are already banned for Muslims in four Malaysian states, as well as several other Muslim countries, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The council finds that the consumption of something that is harmful, whether direct or indirectly, purposely or not, could lead to harm or death; so this will not be allowed,’ Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, chair of the council said at a press conference.

‘E-cigarettes and vapes are categorised as repulsive due to its harming effects and bad smell,’ Dr Shukor Husin added according to the IBTimes.

‘They also have an element of wastage, which is by spending money on things that are harmful and non-beneficial.’

‘We are seeing women and school children showing interest in vape. The decision is made to prevent an unhealthy culture from spreading to future generations.’

An estimated 2.6million people in the UK use e-cigarettes, which provide a nicotine hit without the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco.

Research published earlier this year found that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to end up smoking ‘real’ cigarettes.

American researchers said unregulated electronic cigarettes which are advertised on TV and in magazines serve as a gateway to smoking for teens and young adults.

Results showed 38 per cent of e-cigarette users had started smoking traditional cigarettes within a year compared to just ten per cent who had not used an e-cig.

Earlier this month, it emerged that a type of e-cigs will soon be available on the NHS for smokers trying to quit alongside patches and gums. A review recently declared them 95 per cent safer than the real thing.


Q: What are e-cigarettes?

A: E-cigarettes, also known as personal vaporisers (PV) or an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), give users a nicotine hit without burning tobacco leaves.

When the user sucks on the e-cigarette, liquid nicotine is vaporised and absorbed through the mouth.

When they breathe out, a plume of what appears to be smoke is emitted but it is actually largely water vapour.

A battery-powered heating coil heats the liquid to form the vapour, with some of the designs involving a pressure sensor that is activated by the user taking a puff, while others have a button to heat them automatically.

Q: How popular are they?

A: Inventor Hon Lik was the first to have his idea patented in his native China in 2003, and it has since become an industry worth around £2 billion. Anti-smoking group Ash estimates there are now 2.6 million vapers in the UK.

Q: Are they all the same?

A: No. There are a huge variety of products on the market, and hundreds of different flavours.

Cigalikes were the first kind of e-cigarettes, designed to look as much like a traditional cigarette as possible in order to make them more appealing to smokers.

They use either disposable or replaceable cartridges.

Because they are so small they can only be fitted with low-capacity batteries and need to be recharged more often than the larger tank-type e-cigarettes that were later developed and which can be refilled with ‘e-liquid’.

Cigalikes are often regarded as the ‘entry level’ to vaping, before users move on to larger models.

Q: What are the health risks?

A: Numerous studies have been carried out, but as e-cigarettes are such a new product they can only look at the short-term effects. Public Health England (PHE) said that experts have calculated vaping to be at least 95 per cent less dangerous than smoking – or alternatively that smoking is 20 times more dangerous than using e-cigarettes.

While cigarettes contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals contained in tar from tobacco, e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and so avoid delivering these substances.

The main health issues surrounding e-cigarettes concern other ingredients, contaminants and by-products, which can generate some toxicants – but these are at the very low levels found in the air that people generally breathe.

Q. Should people switch immediately?

But while e-cigarettes are far less dangerous than conventional cigarettes, health experts are not encouraging people to take up the habit for the sake of it.

The emergence of e-cigarettes has given way to fears that they will act as a gateway to smoking conventional cigarettes among those who have never smoked – particularly children – but there is no evidence to support this.

Although many youngsters report having tried vaping, as Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary, University of London, and a co-author of the PHE report, said: ‘People who are attracted to e-cigarettes are the same people who are attracted to smoking. ‘People who drink white wine are more likely to try red wine than people who do not drink alcohol.’

Letters – Clearing the air on vaping

THE Ministry of Health has taken the bold step to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes. The action to confiscate e-cigarettes and vape liquids which contain nicotine from illegal vendors is provided for under the Poisons Act 1952. It baffles the medical fraternity that the good effort by the ministry has received brickbats from some quarters including from another ministry. The decision to ban unregulated sale of e-cigarettes was made after a study conducted by a technical committee formed to look into the effects of e-cigarettes and shisha.

We generally look at the hard facts and the risk posed by an agent. This may involve research done locally, overseas or by combing through literature that are reliable and valid. Some human research may take two to three decades to attain credible and valid results. It makes no sense to wait for that prolonged duration to make a decision as seen in cigarette smoking studies. The damage will be irreversible by then and curtailing the habit later becomes extremely challenging.

The sale of e-cigarettes is banned in many countries like in Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. In Malaysia, e-cigarettes in a short period of two years has already attracted one million smokers.

There are about 600 e-cigarette brands manufactured notably in countries like China and Indonesia. Many of them are devoid of quality control measures and only a few of them have been analysed. Studies have shown a great variety in the levels of the toxic substances and nicotine they produce. E-cigarettes are often designed to simulate the act of tobacco smoking by producing an appealingly flavoured aerosol that looks and feels like tobacco smoke.

It entices people especially schoolchildren and teenagers who often feel hip and fashionable when they smoke e-cigarettes.

Various preliminary studies have shown the presence of nicotine, a highly addictive substance, cancer causing agents or toxic substances like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and potentially toxic metal nanoparticles in the vapours.

In addition to cancer, they pose reproductive, birth defects and are easily inhaled as well as end up in various vital organs like the heart, lungs and brain. A study by the National Poison Centre at Universiti Sains Malaysia found that 40mg of nicotine contained in 10ml of vape liquids could instantly kill an adult person.

Another area of concern is the refillable cartridges used in some e-cigarettes. Currently, there are no accepted measures to confirm their purity or safety. Smokers have the liberty to decide on the concentration of nicotine. This poses the risk of overdose of nicotine. It also allows over enthusiastic smokers to dabble in lethal concoctions of nicotine with marijuana, amphetamine or other synthetic drugs as detected recently in Johor. Enforcement agencies like the police have difficulty establishing the constituents of e-cigarettes that are spiked with any synthetic drugs even if smoked within reach. The vape liquid has to be sent to a laboratory to establish the exact chemical constituent. Spiked e-cigarettes or vaping has posed major problems in western countries due to the illegal combination with synthetic drugs especially among children and teenagers. There has also been a dramatic increase seen in the United States where vape liquid accidentally come into contact with the users’ skin and resulting in nicotine poisoning and children drinking it. Cases have also been reported in Malaysia among adults and children.

The justification used by the industry for the usage of e-cigarettes or vaping as a replacement for nicotine is preposterous. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states there is unsatisfactory “rigorous, peer-reviewed studies conducted to show that the electronic cigarette is a safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy”. Quit smoking effort involves a combination of self-motivation, counselling, family, peer or workplace support. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that gives you nicotine in the form of gums, patches, sprays or inhalers is also used to boost success rates. No one act like e-cigarettes is a likely option to justify quit smoking on a long-term basis.

The recent fire and burns suffered by a passenger due to an ignition from an e-cigarette during travel in a domestic airline as well as burns suffered by smokers when e-cigarettes were switched on at homes are also major causes of concern to many.

An estimated 100 million tobacco related deaths have occurred globally over the last century. Tobacco smoking and drug usage including the synthetic drug scourge in Malaysia has taken a toll on the population especially schoolchildren and teenagers who we look upon as the future leaders of the nation. The government is grappling with these problems. We hope not to have a high-tech way to hook a new generation on another bad nicotine habit.

Let us work together with the Ministry of Health, interested stakeholders and the silent majority to resist this lurking malice of the future.

Assoc Prof Dr Jayakumar Gurusamy

Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine

KL panel to study health impact of e-cigarettes

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia’s Health Ministry has formed a special committee to study the health implications and other issues surrounding the vape industry, following a heated debate over a proposed ban on vaping and the unpopular raids by the ministry on e-cigarette stores nationwide last week.

Health Minister S. Subramaniam said the committee would be the point of reference over vaping issues to prevent conflicting statements emanating from other government departments, The Star newspaper reported yesterday.

The committee’s formation came about after Dr Subramaniam said his ministry was considering legislation to control vaping last week, only to have Rural Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob saying the next day the Cabinet has agreed not to ban e-cigarettes.

But the day after Datuk Ismail’s announcement, there were surprise raids on more than 300 vape stores, leading to protests from store owners and vape users.

A Health Ministry spokesman said the raids were carried out to monitor the nicotine content of vape liquids, and that some stores did not possess a valid licence to sell nicotine-based products.

The issue is also muddled by various views on whether using e-cigarettes helped to reduce smoking, or is in fact smoking by another name as nicotine is part of some of the vape liquids sold.

A subtext to the debate is the prevalence of Malay entrepreneurs who have invested tens of thousands of dollars to open vape stores, with many young Malays using e-cigarettes. The government is wary of upsetting its Malay vote bank.

The Health Ministry in August recommended a temporary halt to shisha and e-cigarette smoking until findings on the risks were announced. But this has been largely ignored.

‘Only pharmacists, doctors can sell nicotine e-cigarettes’

Electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine can only be sold by licenced pharmacists and registered medical practioners, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“E-cigarettes with nicotine require registration under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetic Regulations 1984, Sale of Drugs Act 1952.

“It can only be sold by licenced pharmacists and registered medical practitioners and must be recorded,” he said in a statement today after chairing a special committee meeting on e-cigarette in Kuala Lumpur.

Unauthorised sale of nicotine is an offence under the Poison Act 1952.

The ministry on Oct 30 said the Cabinet had decided not to ban e-cigarettes or ‘vape’.

Last week the ministry carried out an operation to seize e-cigarettes that contain liquid nicotine.

‘Labour disputes may be open to abuse’

KUALA LUMPUR: The labour chapter under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will open up Malaysia’s industrial court system to abuse, said Bantah TPPA.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia treasurer and coordinator of Bantah TPPA Sivarajan Arumugam said certain provisions have been inserted into the labour chapter, for example Article 19.12, which allows investors to take the legal process out of the country.

“TPPA is asking to set up a labour council and a labour consultation. This is separate, meaning that any investor that comes to Malaysia and then they employ local workers, they want a separate labour consultation platform. And in under this platform, let’s say the investor and workers or the union have a dispute, they can form a labour council and consultation. Malaysia will be bound to do it,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We have a very long established industrial court system. Does this mean that investors don’t have to go to our industrial court?

“They can ask the government, according to the TPPA, to form a separate consulting platform, where I want to have a consultation and a council. We are bound by that.

“The worst thing after this is that if the consulting parties fail to resolve the matter no later than 60 days after the date of receipt, the investing party can request for the establishment of a panel under Article 28.7 in the dispute settlement chapter,” he said.

According to him, investors can avoid going to the local industrial court by requesting for labour consultation and if the consultation fails to resolve the dispute, the investor can directly refer the case to the international arbitration centre.

“What is going to happen to our labour court system? This is very dangerous. While the labour chapter has been hailed for taking care of our labour rights, but inside it, this is what you have. You have the opportunity for investors, employers to bypass our legal system, our industrial court system and judges, and directly take the matter to the international court,” he added.

In addition, he said, the International Labour Organisation Convention can be complied with even without TPPA.

“Our contention has always been that Malaysia, without TPPA, can at any time comply with the convention. A lot of labour standards will be updated through this convention,” Sivarajan said.

“The Human Resource Ministry still can comply to this convention without the TPPA. It is misleading for the International Trade and Industry Ministry to say that with TPPA, now your labour rights can be updated.”

Meanwhile, Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) president Dr Molly Cheah said the TPPA will make it difficult for Malaysia to regulate the use of tobacco in the country.

“Malaysia had tabled a total carve-out for tobacco from the TPPA in other words, this trade agreement does not apply to tobacco because it does affect the tobacco control activities of the government. Unfortunately, at the last part of the negotiations, in Atlanta in October, we found that the American voice prevailed.

“As you know the American voice is dictated mainly by the tobacco industry. Malaysia lost that proposal. In its place, it mentioned in the ISDS investment chapter, there is an exemption for tobacco control activities but it is not clear 100% how that is going to be done, because there is a provision in there that says the government can elect to deny the industry of suing or not suing.

“That is a grey area because they say that if you are given the choice to do it, then what happens if you have a weak government? You then allow the tobacco industry to force their case on to you. And there are at least seven to nine chapters in the TPPA that actually affect tobacco control in the country or any other countries. We are still studying the impact,” she said.

Cheah cited an example, whereby it is unclear whether there is exemption for tobacco under regulatory coherence. If there is no exemption, Malaysia would not be able to table any tobacco control act and it would be very difficult for the government to regulate the use of tobacco in this country.

“It is an absolute let down by the government to the hard work that all the tobacco control advocates had done to push for the total tobacco carve out for the country,” she added.

Bantah TPPA chairman Mohd Nizam Mahshar said out of the concerns it had outlined earlier before the final text was made public, 80% of its concerns turned out to be accurate while new concerns have also cropped up in the final text. He said its earlier reviews were done based on previously signed free trade agreements.

“We call on the government to finalise and release the Cost-Benefit Analysis and National Interest Analysis as soon as possible so that an informed analysis or study can be done in reference to the final document so that we do not make the wrong decision for our country’s future,” he said.

Ministry to regulate e-cigarettes

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Health Ministry will not allow the unregulated use of e-cigarettes, including vaping devices.

Despite the ministry’s failure to get the cabinet’s nod to ban vaping, a trend already picked up by about one million users, it is aggressively working to put in place stringent regulations to keep its use in check.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told the New Straits Times that as he and the healthcare community were deeply concerned about the rapid increase in the number of people taking up vaping, he was looking into tangible action that could, among others, prevent hazardous contents from making their way into vaping liquids.

The ministry, he said, was also looking at applying the same set of rules regulating the use of tobacco products to e-cigarettes.

This would mean that the use and sale of vaping devices and accompanying items would be off limits to those under the age of 18.

Dr Subramaniam said the ministry was duty-bound to ensure the substances used in the liquid were not hazardous to users.

The ministry had registered its concerns of possible long-term consequences of inhaling vapours containing nicotine, formaldehyde and propylene glycol.

He also told the NST that in regulating vaping devices, including e-liquid that contains nicotine, the existing Poisons Act 1952 (Revised 1989) would likely come into play.

Under the act, nicotine is underlined under “category C poison”, meaning anything that contained the substance could only be sold and supplied as dispensed medicine or an ingredient in dispensed medicine by licensed practitioners.

Nicotine in tobacco is exempted from the act, as tobacco control is regulated under the Food Act 1983.

As the ministry moves to regulate e-cigarettes in ways similar to how the sale of tobacco products is governed, its promotion could also be restricted.

Under plans to regulate the use of e-cigarettes, the ministry is looking at keeping certain public areas off limits to vapers.

The NST learned that the ministry would convene a meeting on Monday to detail plans to regulate the use of vaping devices.

It is also understood that health experts with the ministry are studying possible cancer-causing agents in e-liquids, including propylene glycol.

If heated for a prolonged period at five volts or higher, propylene glycol could be converted into harmful substances such as formaldehyde.

The debate on the use of vaping devices gained momentum over the last few days as the ministry made it clear it would ban vaping.

It had announced on Wednesday that it was looking at laws to ban e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

Yesterday, many in the vaping community rejoiced when Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob posted on his Facebook account that the cabinet had decided against banning e-cigarettes and vaping.

Dr Subramaniam, in a statement, said he had expressed “his deep concern about the steep increase in the number of people vaping in Malaysia and its possible long-term consequences”.

The cabinet, he said, fully recognised the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking and vaping, and the need for greater public health education on the harmful effects of vaping, as well as the need to stringently regulate it.

The ministry, he said, would immediately work on the two matters.

He said safeguarding public health and regulating vaping, as well as the advent of further evidence of the hazards of vaping, would be the deciding factors of whether it would be banned in the future.

More Malaysians have, in recent years, picked up vaping, some as a new habit while others, dependent on the device, to aid cessation of cigarette smoking.

The device, which atomises the e-liquid, is often doctored with additional additives, such as flavourings and colourings.

Those containing nicotine come with various levels of concentration.

Read More :

Vaping association to cooperate with government

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s first “vaping” association is extending its cooperation to the government to regulate vaping.

Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) president Allan Foo said the government could come up with standards, rules and regulations.

In an industry that involves five different players, Foo suggested that the government gain insight from producers, exporters, importers, retailers and consumers, among others.

“On our (Mevta) part, we are willing to share and provide information. Since vaping has come into the picture, the tobacco industry has been affected.

“We are willing to talk to the government on whether vaping should be subjected to tax and its implementation,” Foo said, adding that government agencies, such as Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim) were welcomed to participate.

Sirim, said Foo, could assist by testing the hardware, computer chips and the liquids used.

“Getting the right benchmark will give vaping proper regulation. We can also follow British standards as they are ahead of us in this.”

Although there are no official figures, Mevta estimates there are between 500,000 and 800,000 users in the country.

“We believe vapers make up for slightly more than 10 per cent of smokers, which is between four million and five million.

“That is 30 per cent of the total number of smokers. If the figure is accurate, the tobacco industry would have been hit badly and that is the last thing we want.”