Clampdown on vaping stores in Malaysia, claims NGO

Clampdown on vaping stores in Malaysia, claims NGO
PHOTO: The Star

PETALING JAYA - A non-governmental organisation (NGO) claimed that officials from the Health Ministry raided vape stores nationwide, possibly resulting in losses which may run into millions.

Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entities president Samsul Kamal Arriffin claimed that more than 300 vape stores in Selangor alone and other areas in the country had been raided by the Health Ministry.

"Shops were raided, items were confiscated and summons were also issued.

"Some shops lost some things while in others, they cleaned out everything," he told The Star Thursday.

He added that it was unfair for a clampdown to take place when the Cabinet clearly stated otherwise.

"When the Cabinet had issued a statement that they were not going to ban vaping, the Health Ministry should first propose a method of regulating it before the clampdown.

"This is very unfortunate," Samsul said, adding that it was unfair to raid the stores as vape is to help people to stop smoking.

A store in Shah Alam was among those raided following discovery of products containing nicotine.

The shop owner claimed that officers from the Health Ministry had confiscated more than 3,000 bottles of vape liquid worth RM100,000 (S$33,000).

"They came in around 4pm Thursday and showed us a letter claiming that the raid is due to the nicotine content in our products," he alleged.

A store owner in Kuala Lumpur claimed that he had closed his shop upon receiving information on the raids.

"Today we are closed, so we were not raided. We expected it to happen, so we closed," he said, adding that his shop would be closed until further notice.

He also said that most vape store owners believed the raids had nothing to do with health issues but due to tax. He condemned the raids which took place without notice.

"If you want to confiscate, at least give us fair warning. This is unfair, however, these raids will not deter our business.

"We will still continue selling vapes, but we will take it underground. The transaction will still carry on, just without a retail store. We will sell it online," he added.

The Health Ministry could not verify the raids when contacted.

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