Nationwide 'vaping' raids take place in Malaysia

A woman smokes a "Blu" electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid that is inhaled by the user, a process known as "vaping."
A woman smokes a "Blu" electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid that is inhaled by the user, a process known as "vaping."AFP

PETALING JAYA - Raids have been carried out on so-called "vape" stores nationwide in Malaysia in an effort to crack down on nicotine-based vapes.

Part of the reason is to monitor the nicotine content in vaping fluids, said a Health Ministry official on Thursday, according to a report in the Star.

"The other reason, is that these stores do not possess a valid licence from the Ministry," the official is reported to have said.

When asked why vape store owners were not notified about the clampdown, the official said: “There was no need because the Poisons Act is clear in its enforcement."

He said the sale and use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is subject to various tobacco, food and poisons regulations in Malaysia.

Earlier, president of the Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entities, Samsul Kamal Arriffin, claimed that more than 300 stores in Selangor alone and other areas in the country had been raided by the Health Ministry.

He added that the clampdown was unfair, given the Cabinet's decision not to ban vaping.

"When the Cabinet had issued a statement that they were not going to ban vaping, the Health Ministry should first propose a method of regulating it before the clampdown," Samsul said, according to the Star.

"This is very unfortunate."

He claimed it was also unfair to raid the stores as vaping helps people stop smoking.

A store in Shah Alam was among those raided following the discovery of products containing nicotine.

The owner claimed that officers from the Health Ministry had confiscated more than 3,000 bottles of vape liquid worth RM100,000 (S$32,000).

On Wednesday, deputy health director-general Lokman Hakim said the ministry would intensify the campaign against e-cigarettes or vaping.        

"The ministry's message to the community is do not use e-cigarettes or vaping, as it is harmful to your health in the long-term," he said.