PETALING JAYA: From health authorities to interest groups, itâ€™s all thumbs up for the news that the Sultan of Johor wants a ban on all vape products from Jan 1.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the move was in line with the Governmentâ€™s goal to achieve a generation of Malaysians free from the smoking habit by 2045.
Voicing his appreciation to Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar over his decree to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping in Johor, he said:
â€œThis will help in curbing smoking and reducing the vaping habit, which has become uncontrollable of late.â€
He hoped other states would follow Johorâ€™s footsteps.
The Star reported yesterday that the Sultan wanted all vape shops in Johor to close by that date in view of health concerns.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah praised the move by Johor Sultan, saying it was in line with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommendation that member countries ban the sale and usage of e-cigarettes and vapes.
The Consumers Association of Penang thanked the Sultan for the ban.
Its president S.M. Mohd Idris said that vaping had created many problems and â€œthe Sultan is right by saying it is harmful to childrenâ€.
There was no need to wait for any scientific studies since the problems had surfaced, he added.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs founding associate Dr Helmy Haja Mydin said the Sultanâ€™s stand that the health of his subjects should not be held ransom to business interests and racial politics was an example of a leader who wanted to give his voice to highlight such concerns.
â€œAs a citizen born in Johor, I have always welcomed the Sultanâ€™s insistence on preserving the unity of his multiracial subjects,â€ he said.
Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity (MOVE) president Samsul Kamal Ariffin said they fully respected the decision.
He said MOVE had been in the forefront of working with the Government to regulate vaping.
Malaysian E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) adviser Allan Foo, speaking in his personal capacity, said he also respected the decision.
â€œBut I beg the Sultan for a longer grace period or at least defer the ruling until studies on the health risk, if any, are concluded,â€ he said.
Mevta, in a separate statement, said its 2,000-strong association respected the concerns of the Sultan.
It said it respected the laws of the country and was open to all forms of cooperation, dialogue and consultation including with the palace.
â€œMevta will be working closely to support our association members in Johor and all around the country during these uncertain times.
â€œWe plead with the relevant authorities to hear us out before imposing any blanket ban since there are many misconceptions about e-cigarettes and vaping.â€
Malaysian E-juice Brewers Association president Muhammad Furqan Hakimi said the press blew the issue out of proportion.
â€œThe bad rap is because it has been over-publicised and politicised,â€ he said.