KUALA LUMPUR – The Health Ministry is studying the need to impose excise tax on electronic cigarettes, including vape to prevent it from becoming a culture among Malaysians.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the need for such a study was because the flavour content in the electronic cigarettes has nicotine, which is a controlled substance.
“Nicotine is controlled under the Poisons Act 1952. Anyone who sells nicotine must apply for a permit from the pharmacy bureau, if you don’t have permit then they are making an offence, and we can take action,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.
He said the matter was also to prevent vape culture from replacing the culture of cigarette smoking after the ministry had been waging an all out war for decades to curb the use of tobacco.
“In just one year, users of e-cigarette and vape have increased significantly. Currently there are over one million users and this is a worrying development,” he said.
He also referred to a video that became viral in social media showing a father offering e-cigarette to his child of three years old, as an example.
Dr Subramaniam said his ministry was responsible to send stern messages that e-cigarette could bring about bad effects in the long run on one’s health.
“Our message is simple. We want to stop Malaysians from vaping whether there is a ban or not. We do not see the effects today but maybe in another five or 10 or 15 years,” he said.
Early this week, Dr Subramaniam was reported to have directed his ministry to take action against traders, who sold flavoured vapes that contained nicotine as it was a controlled substance.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the government raised the cigarette excise tax which saw some brands being imposed a hike of from RM13.80 to RM18 per box. – BERNAMA