JOHOR BARU, Jan 1, 2016:
As the state-wide ban on vaping kick-starts today, many vape traders prepare to move or have already switched to doing other types of business to earn a living.
For former established street vape trader Saiful Bahrin Badaruddin, restarting his previous mobile phone accessories business will be a difficult move.
“I will probably take a week off to meet mobile phone accessory suppliers and also do a quick survey on the current mobile phone trends.
“I have left the business for about two years now and I have still plenty to learn as the mobile phone industry is changing at a quick pace,” he told The Rakyat Post today.
The 40-year-old father of two said that most vape outlets and street stalls have also abided by the ban.
He said the vape outlets that he knows of in the popular Bazaar Karat area in the Johor Baru city centre had also returned to their former businesses or started new ventures.
“Traders who used to sell sneakers before selling vape stuff have returned to their former trade.
“There are others who have also started to sell apparel and other small items,” said Saiful Bahrin.
Some other vape traders that he knew of had also moved to other states.
For the time being, Saiful Bahrin, popularly known as Epul to his loyal customers, will start his mobile accessories business slowly.
He said the business may not bring in the income or excitement compared with his vape stall, but he had to abide by the ban starting today.
“It (the vape business in Johor) was good when it lasted. The income was good and there were huge margins of profit for us.
“My only concern now is to accommodate the salaries of my five workers. However, they are free to leave as my new business may not be able to pay their salaries to sustain them,” said Saiful Bahrin.
However, unlike the other traders, Vape Heaven Malaysia proprietor Chow WC moved out two weeks ago to start his business anew in Malacca and Penang.
The 28-year-old vape trader and supplier said he could not switch to doing another business as he had too much investments tied to his vape business.
“After all, I was born in Penang. I also have a vast network of retailers nationwide that I supply vape e-liquids to.”
Chow had quickly made his move when an announcement on the intended ban was made by Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in November last year.
The ban on all vape-related shops in Johor starting today was enforced following the decree by the state ruler.
He said that retail business may be slow at first, but his distribution business was likely be his mainstay for now.
“What I can do is try my best as times are difficult nowadays.”
With the prohibition on selling vape e-liquids, electronic vape devices and also e-cigarettes starting today, many vape traders have abided by the state-wide ban.
Vape-related shops and street vendors have closed their businesses or have converted to other businesses.
However, there is talk that some traders have gone underground and are selling to regular customers or via social media due to the demand.
Meanwhile, Johor Vapors coalition committee member Jemit Ekal said he hoped that most of the 100-odd vape traders in the state would be able to manage with the ban.
“Many have converted their businesses and I have known one who has started an ice-cream shop from his proceeds.
“It definitely is a difficult time for the Johor vape community, but we will abide by the royal decree as loyal subjects of the Sultan of Johor,” said the 48-year-old who is famed worldwide for his hand-crafted vape devices.
Jemit, who is based in Batu Pahat, Johor, said that his business was not affected by the ban as he is considered a manufacturer.
He said he had moved his assembly to his retail shop in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, so as not to go against the state government ban.