The debate on whether or not vaping is safe or healthy is never-ending as doctors, professionals, and “vapers” have been locked in arguing the pros and cons for years on end now.
Following the Health Ministry’s raids on vape outlets nationwide, the Ruler of Johor has reportedly called for a ban on vaping and asked the vape traders to close down their outlets by next January.
In an interview with The Star Online, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said:
I want the outlets to close down by 1st January 2016, and I do not want to hear any excuses.
“This is a question of health and its effects on young people. It has nothing to do with businesses and for sure, it has nothing to do with race,” he told the newspaper. “I am greatly disappointed that some people are bringing up racial threats and political threats,” he added.
Sultan Ibrahim said that his state had the right to invoke bylaws under the local government laws to close down vape outlets. He has also ordered the state executive council to meet next week to hasten the process.
The Sultan also criticised politicians who were supporting the vaping industry, questioning whether they’d support it if their children were vaping as well.
Why are these politicians giving in to these threats? I want to know if these businessmen would allow their children to vape if it is so safe and healthy as they claim. Do you want to see your children puffing away?
“It is a new business. What kind of businesses were they doing before this? Go back to your previous work,” he added.
News of a ban on vaping surfaced earlier this month when Health Minister Datuk Seri S Subramaniam revealed that vaping will be banned once they have settled the legalities.
However, Malaysia’s Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the Cabinet had decided against imposing a ban on electronic cigarettes/vape or vaping. He went on saying that the ban on vapes containing nicotine “would kill the Malay-dominated industry”, further encouraging vape store owners to expand both locally and abroad.
Local trade group Pertubuhan Ikatan Usahawan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia (Ikhlas) previously suggested that the crackdown on vape outlets would not have happened if the vape traders were largely Indian. Several bumiputera groups also warned that the ban on vaping could lead to Barisan Nasional (BN) losing more than a million votes in the next general election.
“It is also very clear, under the laws, that these vape outlets cannot sell nicotine, so why are we expected to close an eye to such disregard of the law?” the Johor Ruler was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
“If it is not allowed, then it is not allowed. It is that simple. If we allow this to continue, we will be seeing a whole new form of addiction among our youth,” the Sultan also said, adding that vaping would have long-term health effects on humans.
He also said the medical cost, borne by taxpayers, would be staggering and the ban would cover all sales of vape products. The owners of vape stores who failed to follow the rules would face the consequences for not closing down their stores by 1st January, the Sultan warned.
UPDATE (2nd December, 4pm):
It has happened. According to a new report by The Star Online, the Johor has officially banned all sale of vape products including its equipment and liquids from next year.
Upon the announcement, Johor Local Government and Housing Executive chairman Datuk Latiff Bandi said, “There will be no more selling of flavour liquids and mods in Johor anymore. From the local councils record, there are 120 registered vape premises in Johor and we advise them to close their shop before Jan 2 as we will take action against stubborn sellers.”
The decision was made during the state executive councillor meeting held at Bangunan Dato Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar today (Wednesday, 2nd December).