Don't raid until laws are in place for vaping

SHAH ALAM - Local councils and health officers have to stop taking action against premises selling vape liquid until laws regulating the industry are put in place.

The Health Ministry should also come up with regulations for the industry as soon as possible, as there are inconsistencies in the regulations, says the Malaysian E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alter­native Association (Mevta).

Its vice-president Ikhbal Zaka­ria said the current enforcement has put their members in a quandary and they want to have discussions with the ministry.

"We are not against the authorities or trying to disobey the law but what we ask is for us to be heard before any rules and regulations are made because they directly concerns us.

"Please listen to our side and give us a chance to run our business. We are not drug makers or dealers," he said here yesterday.

Since it was set up two years ago, Mevta has been trying to approach the ministry.

"With the recent hype and with several states banning the sales of vaping devices, we hope that this industry is regulated under the federal law, and we will be happy to comply.

"Our members have reported a drop in sales of up to 80 per cent in recent weeks and those involved in the industry have been labelled as undesirable.

"I think everyone should be fair to us before a set of laws is made," he said, adding that the industry raked in billions of ringgit globally and contributed to the country's economy.

On the recent announcement by the National Fatwa Council that it was haram for Muslims to use electronic cigarettes and vaping, Ikhbal said they had no choice but to accept the decision.

"However, we are trying to discuss with the council on this, hoping it will change their misconceptions," he said.

Mevta secretary-general Nor­man Ismail said there was no study confirming that vaping was worse than smoking, and hence all enforcements on vape sellers and restrictions on licensing should be put on hold until a federal ruling comes into force.

The recent raids, he said, contradicted the ministry's statement that there was no plan to ban vaping and that it would only regulate the industry.