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Malaysia: MOH: Generation Smoking Ban Also Covers Vape, E-Cigarettes

28 January 2022

By: Boo Su-Lyn Source: Code Blue

The proposed ban on the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2005 includes vape or e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, besides cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) today clarified that its proposed smoking ban for everyone born after 2005 does not only cover cigarettes and tobacco products, but also vape, e-cigarettes, and heated tobacco products.

An MOH official said the prohibition covered all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, tobacco leaves, and smokeless tobacco, as well as electronic devices like vape or e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

“Tobacco products, smoking substances, substitute tobacco products, and smoking devices,” the MOH official told CodeBlue.

Heated tobacco or heat-not-burn products are electronic devices containing tobacco leaves that are heated to much lower temperatures at 350 degrees Celsius than conventional cigarettes that combust and burn at up to 900 degrees Celsius.

E-cigarettes, also known as vape pens, vapes, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), do not contain tobacco, but heat liquids — which may contain nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals to help make the aerosol — into a vapour instead that is inhaled by the user. 

Nicotine-containing vape and e-cigarette liquids sold in Malaysia have different nicotine levels, up to 5 per cent. The majority of the Malaysian vape market sells open-system e-cigarettes, where people can buy any vape liquid to manually refill the tank or mod in their device. Other vape devices are closed-systems, where people buy pods pre-filled with liquid. 

Disposable e-cigarettes or vape pens are also sold in Malaysia. Some e-liquids and disposable vapes do not contain nicotine.

“Wait for RUU,” the MOH official told CodeBlue, when asked if the proposed generational ban on the sale of tobacco and smoking products covered zero-nicotine vape liquids. He was referring to the new Tobacco and Smoking Control Act that the government plans to table in the upcoming Parliament meeting.

The government previously announced during the tabling of Budget 2022 plans to tax vape and e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine, essentially legalising vape products that are presently under a grey area of regulation.

Current tobacco control legislations under the Food Act 1983 do not cover vape or e-cigarettes. However, under the Poisons Act 1952, nicotine can only be supplied by pharmacists or medical practitioners.

Tobacco companies like Philip Morris, JTI and BAT have entered the heated tobacco or vaping markets.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday announced at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board meeting in Geneva about Malaysia’s plans to prohibit the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to people born after 2005 in a bid to outlaw smoking for the next generation.

This means that Malaysians who are 17 years old today will not be able to legally buy tobacco, vape, or e-cigarettes next year when they turn 18, the current legal age for smoking in Malaysia, or ever, in their lifetime. Neither will subsequent generations be ever permitted to purchase cigarettes and other smoking products.