KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The use of electronic cigarettes, also known as vaping, will be jointly regulated by three ministries instead of just one, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba told Parliament — reversing a policy proposal from the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

They are: the Health Ministry; the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry; and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP).

“The Cabinet meeting on October 28, 2016 decided that three ministries — the Health Ministry, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry — would regulate the use of e-cigarettes or vape (devices) encompassing control over the use of and sales of e-cigarette and vape (device) liquid as well as setting safe standards on devices used,” Dr Adham said in a written parliamentary statement yesterday.

He was responding to Gopeng MP Dr Lee Boon Chye from PKR who asked the government to state its policies on vape devices and e-cigarettes.

Dr Lee had been deputy health minister under the PH administration when a new law, the Tobacco Control Act, was mooted putting the Health Ministry in charge of all tobacco-related products and no-smoking zones.

This essentially covered the use of e-cigarette and vaping. Then health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the proposed Act will deal with everything related to e-cigarettes, vape and their entire supply chain and the dos-and-don’ts.

The draft was slated to be completed by the end of 2019 before it was to be submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers before it could be made legislation.

Dr Adham in his parliamentary reply said his ministry and KPDNHEP had signed a memorandum to retain control over e-cigarette use.

He explained that “control” in this context covers sales of e-cigarettes or vape device liquids containing nicotine, which is still regulated under the Poisons Act 1952 and the Drug Sales Act 1984, where sales and preparation of products containing nicotine are only allowed by pharmacists and registered medical practitioners for use as medical treatment only.

“In other words the sale of e-cigarette and vape device liquids containing nicotine as a consumer product is not allowed.

“The use, sale, promotion, sponsorship and health-related labelling of e-cigarette liquids which do not contain nicotine will be controlled under a new Act under the Health Ministry, replacing the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.

“The draft of this Act has been prepared and is being reviewed by the Attorney General's Chambers,” Dr Adham said.

As for battery standards, devices and e-cigarette liquid packaging that do not contain nicotine it is by Department of Standards Malaysia under Section 10 (1) of the Standards of Malaysia Act 1996.

“Development of standards for e-cigarettes liquid that do not contain nicotine is still being discussed,” Dr Adham said.

Regulation and enforcement of rules and safety standards for batteries and e-cigarette devices containing non-nicotine liquid, this will be regulated under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 under the KPDNHEP.  

“The KPDNHEP will also implement regulations for licensing production activities, distribution —  including import, export and retail of devices as well as e-cigarette liquids without nicotine which will be included under the Health Ministry's new Act,” he added.