The Malaysian government's moderate approach to impose a tax on the sale of vape liquids for e-cigarettes beginning April 1 is seen as a win-win situation for industry players and in the government's efforts to control the smoking habit among the people in the country. This move has been praised by various groups and individuals, including those who are involved in the vape industry and users alike.
The Vape Industry in Malaysia
The vape industry in Malaysia has been rapidly growing over the years, with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and local entrepreneurs developing an ecosystem that has become part of the national economy. In fact, the Malaysia Retail Electronic Cigarette Association (MRECA) president, Datuk Adzwan Manas, has expressed that drastic measures to ban vaping are not appropriate and will only wipe out the local industry.
The Government's Move to Introduce Vape Tax
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that the move to introduce a tax on vape liquids for e-cigarettes is one of the moderate approaches to regulate smoking products that contain nicotine and stop the smoking habit among the people in the country. This is a significant move towards controlling smoking habits, which is a major public health concern in Malaysia.
The Views of Vape Industry Stakeholders
The Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity (MOVE) president, Samsul Kamal Ariffin, has expressed that his team has been fighting for almost 13 years for the vape industry to be regulated. He understands and accepts the move to impose a tax because this is part of the regulatory framework. Therefore, he proposed that the government prepares a clear regulatory framework covering the manufacture of liquids for e-cigarettes, as well as for sales and consumption.
According to Hiekal Rosli, the owner of Molek Vape Store, the implementation of the tax will indirectly affect e-cigarette prices. Currently, producers will be taxed, so when producers are taxed, the prices of the products are expected to increase. This will be a challenge for the industry, but it is necessary to ensure the safety of the public and to curb smoking habits among Malaysians.
Impact of Vape Tax on the New Generation
Ecigarette user Muhammad Amirul Razali, 27, believes that imposing the tax will probably deter the new generation from picking up the habit. Existing vape users will continue to buy vape because it has become a habit. He compares it to cigarettes, which have a high tax but smokers are still willing to buy them.
Regulatory Framework for Vaping
Samsul Kamal Ariffin proposes that Malaysia needs regulations to determine specific and controlled locations or areas for the manufacture of vape liquids. He also suggests implementing rules such as the distance between the premises (vaping) and schools, as well as the age limit of individuals who are allowed to enter the (vaping) premises, in addition to guidelines for vape users. This will ensure that the public is protected from the harmful effects of vaping, especially the younger generation.
In conclusion, the Malaysian government's move to impose a tax on vape liquids for e-cigarettes is a step in the right direction towards curbing smoking habits among Malaysians. This move has been welcomed by various groups and individuals, including those who are involved in the vape industry and users alike. It is essential that the government implements a clear regulatory framework to ensure the safety of the public and to curb smoking habits among Malaysians.