PETALING JAYA, May 10 — The vaping industry nationwide has bottomed out in a little over seven months.
Last October, there were 800,000 vapers but there were 200,000 earlier this month in what is believed to be the result of the Health Ministry’s efforts to educate the public on the ills of the habit.
Malaysian E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) founder and adviser Allan Foo said it could also have been due to vaping being a passing trend.
He said there were literally no first-time buyers from last week, with sales of vape liquids dropping by at least 90 per cent since the beginning of the year.
“The only ones buying new devices when they are released are dedicated users,” he said, adding that the industry peaked between August and October last year, with sales declining from November.
He said the launching of a new device during the peak period could see 10,000 to 20,000 units being sold but this had dropped to only about 500 units since March.
Foo said a vape shop that could make between RM1,000 and RM2,000 in daily profits earlier can only average RM200 now.
He said the estimated 1,500 shops nationwide had been reduced to less than 700.
Foo said Health Ministry efforts to discourage vaping had worked, leaving the public with a phobia that e-cigarettes were more harmful than tobacco.
He added that vaping could have also been a trend as many who dropped the habit recently only picked it up last year.
“It is likely that those who started vaping last year did not fully make the transition to vaping,” he said, adding that dedicated users usually did not go back to cigarettes.
On vape liquids with nicotine, he said Mevta does not encourage its sale.
Meanwhile, deputy director-general of public health Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman welcomed the drop in the number of vapers as it would show “that the public sees it as something that is harmful”.
“Anything detrimental to health is not good and should be avoided,’’ he said.