The vaping community in Malaysia was up in arms yesterday when news of a ban on vaping surfaced. Malaysian Health Minister Datuk Seri S Subramaniam had told reporters at the Parliament that vaping will be banned once they have settled the legalities.
He was quoted as saying that “the ministry has been wanting to ban vaping before it affects public’s health”, adding that they’re looking into choosing an Act that will give them the most “power” which will enable them to ban it.
Needless to say, the news wasn’t very well received by the vaping community Malaysia.
The vape debate is nothing new as doctors, professionals, as well as “vapers” have been locked in arguing the pros and cons for years on end now. But the “vape culture” only begun to pick up in Malaysia in the recent years, especially this year. Many vapers argue that it’s safer than smoking cigarettes while doctors have time and time again reiterated that the vape juice (e-juice) “could be unhealthy”.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been around for long enough and with insufficient studies to prove that it is indeed healthy/unhealthy, the true health consequences of vaping are unknown.
For now, what we do know is the ingredients of vape juice – a mixture of propylene glycol, glycerin, flavours, and sometimes varying amounts of nicotine or none at all. Hence the response from the horde of angry Malaysian vapers when the first “ban of vape” news first surfaced.
Many took to social media to express their disbelief, adding that if vaping/the vape was going to be banned, then a ban on (chemical-laden) cigarettes should follow suit.
But hold your horses, vapers. Because in a newer report from The Star Online dated 29th October (Thursday), Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya confirmed that there are no plans to ban or regulate vaping at the moment. This is because there was still a lot of consideration to be taken into account including holding meetings with stakeholders from the tobacco, vaping and shisha industries.
He added that they are looking at new laws to cover vaping and shisha smoking since at present, there are only laws governing tobacco. The move to implement new laws is also largely due to the fact that there’s a growing trend of vaping among Malaysians, especially those below 18.
As for when the Health Ministry is looking at proposing the new laws, Dr Hilmi said that there would be insufficient time to table any proposed Bill during the current Parliament sitting or even when the next session convenes in March 2016.