IPOH, Jan 16 — E-cigarette and vape sellers here are urging the authorities to regulate vape products instead of banning them all together.
This follows the Perak government’s decision to stop issuing licences for premises to sell vape products, which was announced by state health committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon on Thursday.
The move has received the thumbs down from sellers and consumers who are asking the authorities to impose safety regulations on the content of vape products instead of blocking its sale.
Baljinder Singh, 25, of Vape Kartel store, told Malay Mail many sellers were happy to see the products regulated.
“We would cooperate fully with the authorities because we are just trying to make an honest living,” he said.
Baljinder estimated around 95 per cent of his customers had either quit or reduced smoking after they started vaping. This, he said, included some customers who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day.
“If vape premises are banned, sellers will go underground. There will still be a market because many consumers have faith in the product. The need for a cigarette is gone and they feel healthier. I have even heard these comments from an 80-year-old,” Baljinder said, adding that he expected to lose RM500,000 if he had to close his two stores.
Meor Sukri Meor Osman, 39, who was one of the first people to open a vape shop in Ipoh, predicted the decision would also reduce job opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
“I opened my store in 2011 and I have managed to set up two more since then.
“We don’t mind if vape products are regulated or even taxed in future. We just don’t want to lose our business,” he said, adding that his business had dropped by 80 per cent since the nationwide crackdown against vaping started.
Vape user R. Karthik, 27, warned restrictions against vaping could push consumers back towards cigarettes.
“As a consumer, I want my vape products to be regulated because it is safer,” he said.
“But if the authorities make it harder for people to vape, they will end up going back to smoking cigarettes, which is worse,” he said.