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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Vape or e-cigarette outlets in Johor will not be able to operate past January 1 by royal decree.
Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said his state will apply local regulations to prohibit such outlets once the grace period of December has ended.
“I want the outlets to close down by January 1, 2016, and I do not want to hear any excuses. This is a question of health and its effects on young people. It has nothing to do with businesses and for sure, it has nothing to do with race,” the Johor ruler told Star Online in an interview published today.
“I am greatly disappointed that some people are bringing up racial threats and political threats.”
Sultan Ibrahim also criticised politicians who were supporting the vaping industry, asking the unnamed leaders if they would be similarly supportive if their children were the customers of the e-cigarette sellers.
The vaping industry came in for Putrajaya’s attention when the Health Ministry announced that it was considering a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes due to possible health concerns.
But this revelation prompted the appearance of Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as a cheerleader of sorts for the industry, disclosing positive news from the Cabinet ahead of official disclosure from the Health Ministry.
Ismail went on to encourage vape traders to expand both locally and abroad even as the Health Ministry raided outlets and seized vape liquids containing nicotine, a controlled substance that may only be dispensed by pharmacists according to local laws.
Local trade group Pertubuhan Ikatan Usahawan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia (Ikhlas) suggested previously that Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam would not have launched the crackdown if vape traders were largely Indian rather than Malays.