KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 ― The Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (MEVTA) and the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) are glad to see the government impose taxes and restrictions on the sale and purchase of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

The groups said the move will help regulate the industry which has seen so much illegal sales and distribution over the past few years resulting in Malaysia becoming the number one country in the world for sales of illegal cigarettes.

“We are very happy as we have been pushing this for five years,” said MVCC president Syed Azaudin Syed Ahmad.

“With the imposing of an excise duty on electronic, non-electronic cigarette devices and vape liquids beginning January 2021, it will be easier for the government to regulate illegal vape that is hazardous for your health and does not follow globally recognised industry standards.

“A lot of people have been complaining about third parties selling illegal products and selling them irresponsibly,” he added.

A lot of issues arose last year regarding the sales of illegal vaping products through the internet, making them easily accessible to children.

Groups representing e-cigarette or vape traders then called for the government to set regulations to govern the industry, especially online sales to minors.

“That’s why this new regulation won’t hamper the industry as most of the smokers are adults,” said Zain adding that kids will find it harder to buy these products illegally now.

“We fully support the government’s proposal to tax vape products and the rest, This way we can help the government (in terms of taxes).

“The only thing we need to do now is to make sure we and the other vape associations like MRECA (Malaysia Retail Electronic Cigarette Association) & MEBA (Malaysia e-Liquid Brewers Association) need to discuss in detail with the other ministries on how to make sure our industry is prepared for this transition,” said MEVTA secretary-general Zain Azrul.

Zain said in the past that there was a lack of guidelines from government agencies which gave the industry a bad name.

“Overall we appreciate the law where vape is being regulated significantly. However we hope the law would evolve from time to time to make sure the vape industry in Malaysia maintains its competitiveness,” he added.

Together with illegal cigarettes, the illegal market now accounts for approximately 70 per cent of the total consumption in Malaysia.

All nicotine products fall under the purview of the Poisons Act 1952, and no licence has been issued by the health ministry for vaping products in the country.