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Malaysia Moves To Ban Vape

Official policy is now to permit individual states to ban electronic cigarettes and other nicotine products.

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Malaysia snuggles in the South China Sea, near Singapore and Thailand who have taken a dim view on the use of electronic cigarettes. For a while it looked as though Malaysia would resist calls to get tough, but time appears to have run out for harm reduction.

“The Government won’t follow in the footsteps of neighbours like Brunei, Singapore, and Thailand in banning e-cigs but it would look at how to effectively regulate the industry instead,” explained Razak Muttalif just over a year ago. The director of the National Institute of Respiratory Medicine went on to add: “We are aware that some people have misused the devices to do drugs but there are no plans for the Government to ban vaping.”

Harold Wilson once said a week is a long time in politics, for Malay vapers Muttalif’s statement must seem like a lifetime ago. By autumn of last year his voice had been drowned out by the likes of the Malaysian National Cancer Society’s Dalilah Kamaruddin, who opined: “You cannot use liquid nicotine no matter how small the dosage, for fear that its absorption into the blood stream may produce mutations which create chemical imbalance in the cells.”

Fundamentalist viewpoints such as Kamaruddin’s supported wholesale bans on all vaping products, flying in the face of a host of European specialists and researchers declaring vaping to be at least 95% safer.

The Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 Act will be replaced in 2017 by two new laws covering vaping products with and without nicotine.

Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam, commenting on the banning of all vape products in certain states, said: “Some states have also banned the use of cigarettes due to religious reasons. It depends on how the state go­vernments want to handle the matter.”

Vape products not containing nicotine would be the responsibility of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK). “For example,” Subramaniam explained, “if it contains durian flavoured liquid, it is under KPDNKK and if it contains nicotine, then it comes directly under my ministry.”

Unsurprisingly, the National Cancer Society has welcomed the announcement. Dr Saunthari Somasundaram said: “While we believe banning e-ciga­rettes is the only way to keep our children away from the dangers, the regulation by the three ministries is a big step forward towards addressing this major health concern.”

Saunthari Somasundaram ignored everything that had been said just over twelve months ago and spread a message of fear: “We hold firm that there is no safe level limit for the use of nicotine. And we oppose recreational use of it at any level. Beyond causing addiction, it also affects biological processes related to foetal growth and development, the heart, the central nervous system, and causes cancer.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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