Malay’s Vape Industry a “Wild West”, says Former Health MinisterArvin Peh
Khairy Jamaluddin, former Malaysian Health Minister, likens the unregulated vape industry to the “Wild West”.
Malaysia’s unregulated vape industry has been compared to the “Wild West” by former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who points out the complete lack of laws governing the sale and use of vape products in the country. “There were enforcement issues before, but we regularly acted against vape sales – especially to minors – and vape products could not be advertised. It’s now the Wild West in Malaysia as there is no enforcement because there are no laws against vapes,” he explained in a tweet on Monday, July 17.
Jamaluddin was responding to an episode of Al Jazeera’s 101 East documentary series that revealed six shops in Kuala Lumpur selling nicotine-based products to a young buyer who identified herself as new to vaping. The undercover investigation discovered that none of the stores asked the girl for identification to verify her age before selling her the highly addictive products, despite four of them having “18+” signs displayed.
The Health Ministry had previously stirred controversy on April 1 when it published a gazette that exempted nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vape products from poisons control. The move attracted widespread criticism from the public and various health groups. According to Jamaluddin, this exemption means that no action can be taken against the sale and marketing of vape products until a new law is introduced.
In response, three NGOs—the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, the Malaysian Green Lung Association, and Voice of the Children—have launched a judicial review to assess the decision. The groups have named Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa and the government as respondents and are seeking a court order to overturn Dr. Zaliha’s decision to amend the Poisons Act.
Dr. Zaliha has stated that the upcoming Tobacco Control Bill will regulate all smoking products, including nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vape products. The bill, also known as the generational end-game (GEG) bill, was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last month and has been referred back to a Parliamentary committee for further review.