Vapor industry players in Malaysia have sought guidance from authorities on how to conduct their business properly, following last week’s nationwide raid on vape outlets.
On Nov. 5, the Health Ministry raided hundreds of vape shops in search of illegal vape liquid and unlicensed businesses. More than 50 vape stores were raided in Selangor alone, with owners incurring millions in losses, according to The Star.
The Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce secretary-general Ridhuan Rosli said vapor industry players were willing to cooperate with authorities if there were guidelines from the government on how to operate their businesses.
“While we agree that what they did was according to the law, they should have helped and guided us on how to obtain the permit or license to sell vapes,” said Ridhuan. “At least give us a timeframe to improve. If there are still among us who do not comply with the regulations, then take action.”
Ridhuan said most of the chamber’s members have limited knowledge on the sale of nicotine-based vapes, and that the shop owners shouldn’t be entirely blamed as they were merely “at the end of the supply chain.”
“If they really want to clamp down on vape, go after the manufacturers of the liquid,” he said.
The Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity (MOVE) echoed that sentiment and chided the Health Ministry for conducting the raid when there was no ban on vaping.
“What they should’ve done was to propose regulations and guidelines for the manufacturing of the products,” MOVE President Samsul Kamal Ariffin said. “If it is about nicotine, they should come up with regulations and share with us. Once the regulation is out, we want to adhere and follow.”
Malaysia E-liquid Brewers Association also requested flexibility in the license to sell nicotine-based liquids.
“We are ready to work with the ministry to assist the producers and traders so they can comply with the standards specified by the ministry,” said the organization’s president, Muhammad Furqan Hakimi.
The Health Ministry said there was no need to warn the shops before the raids as the Poisons Act was clear on nicotine rules. Shops selling nicotine-based vape are required to get a permit from the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau.
Following Thursday’s raid, it is understood that the Health Ministry, under the pharmaceutical control bureau, would conduct another round of raids.