• August 7, 2020

Legal since it’s not illegal

Malaysia’s Health Minister seems to have confirmed by default that the use of electronic cigarettes not containing nicotine is permitted in public places where tobacco smoking is banned.

According to a story in The Star, the minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, had said that e-cigarettes that contained nicotine or tobacco [presumably heat-not-burn devices] could not be used in no-smoking zones.

But the Star was looking for an answer to the question of whether vaping devices without nicotine could be used in no-smoking zones.

The answer it received was, by default, yes. “If there is no nicotine in vapes, then the issue is whether it is tobacco based,” said Dzulkefly. “If it is tobacco based, then it is still not allowed. It is as simple as that.”

In October last year, deputy health minister Dr. Lee Boon Chye said the ban against tobacco smoking in public places and eateries would not be extended to vaping.

He said that under the current laws, the authorities could act on vape products only if they contained nicotine.

In the meantime, Dzulkefly said he was open to a suggestion by the chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, that the smoking ban should be extended to offices and enclosed areas such as toilets.

“We are willing to consider and always reassess and review, especially public places,” Dzulkefly said. “I will listen to the public on all suggestions and complaints.”

From the beginning of this year, tobacco smoking has been banned in all eateries.