Malaysian states to hold talks before making decision on vaping

PETALING JAYA - Several states will hold discussions and dialogues on vaping and e-cigarettes with various parties soon before coming up with a final decision on the much-debated issue.

However, Malacca says it will continue to issue licences for vape outlets pending a Federal ruling.

A ban, however, is likely in Selangor, out of health and social concerns as well as following Health Ministry rules and the National Fatwa Council's announcement on Monday that it was haram for Muslims to vape or use e-cigarettes.

(The ministry is empowered to act under the Poisons Act 1952 (Revised 1989), which dictates that the sale of e-liquids containing nicotine can only be supplied by licensed pharmacists and registered medical practitioners.)

The Selangor government will make a final decision after a workshop on Jan 11 and 12 to study the health implications of vaping.

Selangor Health, Entrepreneurship Development, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairperson Dr Daroyah Alwi said the state was likely to adopt the same stand as the ministry and council.

"The Mentri Besar will announce the final decision," she said after a pre-workshop meeting with more than 40 department and agency chiefs as well as ministry officials here yesterday.

Dr Daroyah also said all local councils in the state had been directed to freeze the issuance of new business licences to e-cigarette sellers.

The permit to sell vape juice (e-liquid) is under the purview of the ministry.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, the State Fatwa Committee will meet separately with health experts and local vape traders soon, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman.

"There will be a few meetings before the committee decides whether to gazette vaping or e-cigarette as haram," he said.

A spokesperson from the Mufti Department, however, said each state was not compelled to follow the national council's decision.

The Kuala Terengganu City Council, meanwhile, is not so concerned about the fatwa on vaping but unlicensed business.

Mayor Datuk Kamil Othman said all vape business would be asked to close as they were operating without a licence.

There are about 15 vape outlets in Kuala Terengganu and 120 in the state.

In GEORGE TOWN, State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said a dialogue would be held on Jan 5. Non-governmental organisations will also be invited to the event that will be attended by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"The state has yet to make any decision on vaping as there is no clear policy yet by the Federal Government," Dr Afif said.