October 03, 2015

MOVE talks about why the Malaysian Health Ministry might ban vaping

Will vaping be banned in Malaysia? That’s the question that’s been on the minds of many vapers since the country’s Health Minister recommended that people stop vaping until comprehensive findings on the risks were released.

According to an article in The Star, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam had said that the ministry was still in discussions with various agencies and related parties to find out more. It’s been rumored that the ministry is likely to ban vaping altogether.

Rather than brush it off as just a rumor, some members of the vape community have banded together and organized a campaign to show that consumers want to be able to vape as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. Since its launch in mid-August, the Malaysian Organization for Vape Entity (MOVE) petition has garnered close to 48,000 supporters, many of whom say that vaping is preferable to smoking.

In spite of all MOVE’s efforts, including meeting with the Ministry of Health, MOVE President Ska Mohd Basir says that vaping is still likely to be banned due to two main reasons. VapeClubMY met with him yesterday to find out more the ministry’s reasons and how as vapers, we might be able to contribute more to the cause.

Here are the two reasons:
#1: The prevalence of underage vaping
In the past year, mods have been getting increasingly cheaper. There are more and more juices available in the market. As accessibility has increased, so has the number of consumers. Some of these have never smoked to begin with but pick up vaping as a lifestyle choice because it is “seen as cool”.

“20-30 years ago, this was the exact problem with cigarettes,” says Ska, adding that older vapers themselves were “not happy with what they were seeing”.

Most smokers know that there are certain ethics to follow when puffing. Don’t smoke indoors, don’t smoke near children and non-smokers, don’t blow smoke directly at anyone, so on and so forth. When smokers switch to vaping, they follow the same set of ethics.

Vapers who have never smoked however, don’t. “It’s just water vapor,” they say when reprimanded.

Which is why, in the case that vape is not banned, MOVE has resolved to continue educating the public with a new campaign Reach One, Teach One, in which older vapers pass on best practices for vaping to newer vapers. At the same time, the campaign also aims to educate non-vapers about what vape actually is so that there will be less of a stigma.

#2: The questionability of Malaysian vape juices
MOVE committee member Naddy Ali, who is also in charge of PR for the organization told us about a retail store that was raided a while back. The authorities took samples of the vape juices and tested them. It turned out that there were contents like car coolant and other non-consumables in some of the juices.

Without regulations, brewers are not required to properly label the bottles and consumers are left in the dark as to what the ingredients of each bottle is and where those ingredients come from. There are also no rules or safety standards put in place for the brewing process itself, which means that consumers cannot be sure that their vape juices are mixed and steeped in an appropriate environment.

No other country has created regulations specifically for vape yet, which means that there is no precedent for Malaysia to follow. If you were a regulator with no prior knowledge of vape, and all you saw was that it caused both social and health problems, banning it seems like a valid solution.

However, as vapers ourselves, we hope that the industry will be regulated, rather than banned altogether and here at VapeClubMY, we are taking steps to be part of the solution. Like MOVE, we are consumer-driven and definitely agree that the two problems that have been raised are valid concerns.

In our next article, we will expound further on some of MOVE’s proposed regulations.

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