Restrictions On The Importation Of Vape Products Would Traumatize Local Industry
KUALA LUMPUR, 19 April 2023 – The Malaysian Government’s progressive move towards regulating the vape industry has hit a roadblock as the manufacturing and importation of vape products with nicotine are still being banned and not allowed, stated local think-tank Datametrics Research and Information Centre Sdn Bhd (DARE) today.
Based on the recently gazetted Customs Department’s Prohibition Of Imports Order 2023 as reviewed by DARE, the think tank said that the order restricts local vape industry players from importing vape liquids containing nicotine and importation of nicotine to manufacture vape liquids unless approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH), despite it has been exempted from the Poisons Act.
DARE’s response to MOH
Pankaj Kumar, Managing Director of DARE, said, “Naturally, this is a planned ‘back-door-ban’. The entire supply chain and retail ecosystem in the vape industry will come to a standstill with this restriction. Without any actions to address this quickly and clearly, industry players will not be able to manufacture and import products legally. This will cause the vape industry to revert to the status quo, which is to continue to operate underground,” he added.
Pankaj also said that the situation will cause the Malaysian Government to miss the opportunity from collecting excise tax revenue to the tune of RM1 billion annually.
“The Government would not be able to collect tax revenue in this situation and the products will continue to be sold without any taxes and regulations.”
To address this, DARE urges the Ministry of Health (MOH) to reverse the restrictions immediately given that the Government has already exempted vape liquids containing nicotine from the Poisons Act.
“The Government has already exempted vape liquids containing nicotine from Poisons Act and the MOH shouldn’t continue imposing the restrictions or any ban on vape liquids containing nicotine,” said Pankaj.
Pankaj also said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) should take steps to immediately amend current laws to introduce regulations to regulate vape products as this will ensure that products that are sold in the market are safe, secure, and of quality.
“This is to enable the Government to introduce controls, especially on the vape products to ensure consumers have access to regulated products and to prevent products falling into the hands of individuals under 18 years of age,” said Pankaj.
DARE also said that the MOH should take steps to embrace tobacco harm reduction and see vape products as a means to help reduce smoking prevalence in Malaysia as seen in other countries adopting similar approaches towards a smoke-free society.
Pankaj said, “Sweden is set to become Europe’s first ‘Smoke-Free’ country as it is on course to see the smoking prevalence rate drop below 5%. It was reported that this phenomenal success was achieved by embracing tobacco harm reduction strategies that accept smoke-free products like vape as less harmful alternatives.”
“Malaysia should take learnings to embrace tobacco harm reduction. Examples from other countries have already shown vape has the potential to reduce smoking prevalence. It is critical that we take an evidence-based approach that has proven to be a success to reduce smoking prevalence in Malaysia,” he added.
In a study published by DARE, ‘Clearing The Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction’’, vaping can reduce the smoking population in Malaysia to 4.0 million by 2025 from 5 million to date through appropriate regulations and promoting smokers to switch to this less harmful alternative. The study estimated that vaping will help the country reduce its healthcare spending on treating smoking-related diseases by RM1.3 billion in 2025 alone.
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