Malaysia Like The 'Wild West' For Vapes, Says Khairy

Malaysia Like The 'Wild West' For Vapes, Says Khairy
Malaysia Like The 'Wild West' For Vapes, Says Khairy

Title: Malaysia Like The ‘Wild West’ For Vapes, Says Khairy

In recent years, Malaysia has become synonymous with the unregulated world of vape products, often described as the “Wild West” for this industry. Khairy Jamaluddin, former health minister, has highlighted the lack of laws governing the sale and use of vapes in the country, leading to concerns about the potential risks and consequences.

In a tweet, Khairy Jamaluddin expressed his worries about the current situation, stating that there were previously some enforcement actions taken against vape sales, particularly to minors, and restrictions on advertising vape products. However, with the absence of specific legislation, the enforcement efforts have dwindled. This has created an environment similar to the Wild West, where anything goes due to the absence of regulations.

The concern regarding unregulated vape products was further highlighted in an episode of Al Jazeera’s 101 East documentary series. The undercover investigation revealed that several vape shops in Kuala Lumpur were selling nicotine-based products to a young buyer without verifying her age. Despite some shops displaying “18+” signs, none of them asked for identification before making the sale. This lack of oversight and responsibility is troubling, as it exposes minors and potentially vulnerable individuals to highly addictive nicotine-based vape products.

The issue has been exacerbated by a gazette published by the Health Ministry on April 1. This gazette exempted nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vape products from poisons control regulations. Public and various health groups have criticized this decision, emphasizing the need for stricter regulations to protect the population from the potential harm caused by nicotine addiction.

Khairy Jamaluddin has stressed that until new legislation is put in place, no significant action can be taken against the sale and marketing of vape products. This legal void has motivated three NGOs, the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, the Malaysian Green Lung Association, and Voice of the Children, to initiate a judicial review to challenge the exemption of vape products from poisons control regulations. They are specifically targeting Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa and the government, seeking a court order to nullify the decision.

To address the concerns surrounding the unregulated vape industry, the Health Ministry has introduced the Tobacco Control Bill, known as the generational end-game (GEG) bill. This comprehensive legislation aims to regulate all smoking products, including nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vape products. However, the bill is currently under review by a Parliamentary committee.

It is essential for Malaysia to bring the vape industry out of the “Wild West” era and impose strict regulations to protect public health, particularly the younger generation. Implementing effective laws that govern the sale, marketing, and use of vape products will ensure that the industry operates responsibly, safeguarding against potential health risks and protecting minors from easy access to addictive nicotine-based products. Only through robust regulations can Malaysia tame the “Wild West” of the vape industry and prioritize the well-being of its citizens.



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