The Battle on Vaping in Malaysia: A Surprising Turn of Events

The Battle on Vaping in Malaysia: A Surprising Turn of Events

Malaysia's stance on vaping has taken a dramatic shift recently, with the government making surprising decisions regarding the regulation and legalization of vaping products. This move has generated significant controversy and concerns about the potential impact on public health, particularly among the youth. In this blog post, we will delve into the recent developments surrounding vaping in Malaysia and explore the implications of these decisions.

Unforeseen Legalization:
In an unexpected move, Malaysia effectively legalized vaping on April 1. The government exempted nicotine liquids and gels from the poisons list under the Poisons Act 1952, allowing their sale on the open market and the implementation of taxes. What caught many off guard was the timing of this exemption, as it preceded the introduction of a comprehensive law governing the sale and usage of vape products. Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa's decision to overrule the Poisons Board's recommendation further heightened concerns.

Loopholes and Concerns:
The immediate consequence of this legalization is the creation of a legal loophole. The government now faces challenges in controlling the sale and consumption of vaping products among youths and children. Previous surveys have already highlighted the alarming prevalence of smoking and illegal vape product use among adolescents in Malaysia. With the absence of regulations, the potential for increased accessibility and usage of these products among young individuals is a cause for concern.

The Proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022:
To address these concerns, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced the upcoming Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, set to be tabled in parliament in May. This bill aims to prohibit the sale and use of smoking products for individuals born from 2007 onwards, marking a crucial step towards curbing tobacco and vaping product consumption among the younger generation. However, the delay in progressing the bill due to parliamentary and political circumstances has raised frustrations among proponents of tobacco harm reduction.

Regulating Vaping: A Historic Step Forward:
In a separate development, the Malaysian Organization of Vape Entities (MOVE) recently announced that Malaysia's ban on the sale of vaping products is set to end. Starting on August 3, vaping devices will be regulated, followed by the legalization of vape sales. The move to gazette the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking) of Electronic Cigarette Devices Order 2022 signifies the government's commitment to ensuring safety standards are met and consumer protection is upheld.

The Benefits of Regulation:
Supporters of vaping regulation emphasize the potential benefits of a legalized market. By implementing regulations that restrict sales to adults and require product certification, Malaysia aims to create a safer environment for vape users and generate much-needed tax revenue for the country. MOVE President Samsul Kamal Ariffin believes that regulating vaping products rather than banning them can help smokers transition to safer alternatives and significantly reduce smoking rates.

Anticipated Decline in Smoking Rates:
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) predicts a decline in smoking rates following the legalization of vapor products. CAPHRA's executive coordinator, Nancy Loucas, highlights the experiences of other countries that have adopted regulatory frameworks for safer nicotine products, noting a subsequent dramatic decline in smoking rates. The potential positive impact on public health is an encouraging aspect of the move toward regulation.

The recent developments surrounding vaping in Malaysia have created a stir, with conflicting viewpoints on the potential consequences. While the unexpected legalization has raised concerns about the accessibility of vaping products among the youth, the upcoming Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 aims to address these issues. The imminent end to the ban on vape sales and the introduction of regulations provide an opportunity to strike a balance between harm reduction and public health. As Malaysia navigates this uncharted territory



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