KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Cigarette makers British American Tobacco (BAT) have lauded the policies in Budget 2022, particularly the government’s intention to tax and effectively recognise nicotine vapour, or vapes.
BAT managing director Nedal Salem commended the introduction of the excise duty for vape products containing nicotine, saying it was a right move towards tobacco harm reduction in Malaysia.
“Regulation will not only allow vape users access to reduced-risk alternatives to smoking, but also ensure the products used are compliant to quality and safety standards,” Salem wrote in a statement yesterday.
Finance Minister Datuk Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz when tabling Budget 2022 yesterday, announced the government’s intention to introduce excise duties on all vape and e-cigarette products containing nicotine.
Zafrul said the move was to promote a healthier lifestyle among Malaysians but stopped short of revealing the intended tax rates.
Salem in his statement, however, warned the government that any new tax framework being introduced must be carefully crafted to ensure the correct objectives are met and not drive consumers towards cheaper, less regulated options, especially those on the black market.
“If not, the mistakes of high tobacco excise rates will be repeated where currently the government loses RM5 billion annually,” Salem wrote.
Alongside the excise duty on vape and e-cigarettes, Zafrul yesterday also announced the extension of a sugar tax on premixed sugary drinks, also aimed at moving Malaysians towards a healthier lifestyle.