KUALA LUMPUR – A local vape consumer association call for Ministry of Health to separate vape and cigarettes and it is not right to categorised them in the same way.
MVA’s statement comes in response to Ministry of Health’s inclusion of vape in its generational end game proposal to ban sale of the cigarettes to anyone born after 2005.
Khairil Azizi Khairuddin, President of Malaysian Vapers Alliance (MVA) said, “Globally, it has been recognised that vape and cigarettes are two different products. There are numerous evidence from international public health bodies showing vape to be less harmful compared to cigarettes. It is wrong to have regulations for vape to mirror cigarettes. Many other countries that have regulated vape, including UK and New Zealand, treat vape as a tool that can aid with smoking cessation.”
“This proposal is sending the wrong message and as adult consumers, we firmly believe that adult consumers cannot be deprived of their right to less harmful alternatives,” added Khairil.
Khairil also pointed out that recently in Philippines, one million vapers have showed their support for the passage of the Vape Bill that will be introduced to regulate vape products in the Philippines separately from cigarettes. The Vape Bill focused on preventing minors access and ensuring consumers have access to regulated products and reduce the harm caused by smoking cigarettes.
“Similarly in Malaysia, various groups, from vape industry associations, consumer groups and harm reduction advocators, have all already voiced their support for the introduction of vape regulations. Cohesively, we have called for regulations to be introduced for years now, and yet, there has been continued delay from the Ministry of Health.”
“We understand the Ministry’s concern on youth vaping. But more importantly, regulations must be quickly introduced to put in place measures that would ensure minors have no access to the products. For example in Philippines, the ongoing bill that is being discussed have such measure including mandating all physical retail and e-commerce websites to conduct age-verification through valid government-issued identification card and failure to do so will lead to it being an offence. This is the right move and needs to be emulated in Malaysia immediately,” Khairil added.
Khairil also added that the vape bill in Philippines was pushed forward as there is recognition for the products to be regulated and complies to safety and product standards requirements so that consumers are not exposed to illicit and unregulated products.
“Sale of vape products are taking place nationwide in Malaysia. Government must immediately put in place regulations or product guidelines to govern the industry so that consumers are buying products that complies with the laws. The Ministry of Health cannot continue to think of only finding ways to ban vape and delay regulations while ignoring the real issue at hand.”
MVA added that Malaysia’s vape regulations should be based on aiming at encouraging smokers to quit smoking by switching to vape that is proven less harmful, similar to the Philippines’ Vape Bill by putting in place regulations that are different from cigarettes and help smokers to switch such as allowing promotion and advertisement of vape products to smokers.