23 Mar Malaysia’s vaping approval delayed by politics
“Legislation to regulate vaping in Malaysia is pending parliamentary approval but frustratingly will now be delayed due to political instability and election campaigning,” says Samsul Kamal Ariffin, President of MOVE (Malaysian Organization of Vape Entities).
“Malaysia’s Health Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin’s decision to regulate the vape industry is forward looking and highly commendable. Things were looking good but unfortunately the speed at which this bill will be approved is now directly related to what’s going on politically in Malaysia,” says Mr Ariffin.
The President of MOVE and member of CAPHRA says the elections are proving a key distraction to Malaysia strictly regulating the safety and sale of vaping products.
“We are very disappointed that MPs are absent from Parliament, busy campaigning for state-level elections. What’s more, the vaping legislation will be further delayed if the general election gets scheduled for May this year,” he says.
Earlier this year Malaysian vape advocates and users applauded the Ministry of Health’s efforts as it moved to prepare the legislation to progress through Parliament. Now commentators are concerned that delays to the Tobacco & Smoking Control Bill could see Malaysia lose an estimated RM 1 billion in tax revenue.
Mr Ariffin says despite disappointing delays, advocates for a Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) approach are keeping their eyes on the prize. They are desperate to see the end of Malaysia’s sales ban on vaping products which has kept the country’s smoking rates unnecessarily high.
CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) says all eyes are on Malaysia. The high-profile regional advocacy group remains confident the legislation will pass and Malaysia’s smoking rates will dramatically fall.
“The Philippines vaping legalisation is just awaiting presidential approval, and even Thailand is actively investigating ways to lift its failed vaping ban. We have every confidence in Malaysia doing the right thing once the elections have passed,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA.
“Malaysia’s leaders know that 67 countries worldwide have now adopted regulatory frameworks on safer nicotine products and subsequently all have registered a dramatic decline in smoking. That’s a powerful proposition given smoking is rife in Malaysia and needlessly killing thousands of good people every year,” she says.
CAPHRA says considerable and effective advocacy from local consumer groups in recent years was key to the Malaysian Government’s decision last year to legalise liquid nicotine and move forward with regulation.
“When Malaysia legislates and regulates vaping it will send a big message to the world. Malaysia’s Health Minister has shown incredible leadership to date. We now await support from his parliamentary colleagues. Together they’ll save the lives of countless Malaysian smokers. What an incredible legacy that will be,” says Nancy Loucas.
A global collaboration of THR consumer groups, sCOPe, has launched a comprehensive library of online panel discussions and presentations. In November 2021, sCOPe broadcast around the clock during COP9 – the 9th Conference of Parties for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). To access sCOPe’s online library visit, https://bit.ly/319zzkx
Boasting over 14,000 testimonials, CAPHRA is calling on those who’ve quit cigarettes through smoke-free nicotine alternatives to tell their story on www.righttovape.org
For a free digital media repository on tobacco harm reduction in Asia Pacific – including media releases, images and graphics – please visit https://apthrmedia.org