Al Jazeera went undercover in six vape shops in the city and none of the staff asked the young buyer for their ID.
Al Jazeera recently went undercover to 6 vape shops in Kuala Lumpur and found out the rules for selling vapes to youths are still lax.
None of the staff asked the young buyer for their ID before selling nicotine-based vape products in all the shops they went to.
The act of selling still happened despite four shops displaying 18+ signs.
Al Jazeera reported there’s a rise in vaping in Southeast Asia, especially among youths.
This is also partly due to vaping being promoted to smokers as a step to reduce cigarette smoking.
We went undercover to 6 vape shops in Kuala Lumpur. None of them asked our young buyer for ID before selling highly addictive nicotine-based vape products, despite 4 of them displaying 18+ signs.— 101 East (@AJ101East) July 16, 2023
Find out more about the rise of vaping in Southeast Asia: https://t.co/pgMFmnQqZ5 pic.twitter.com/os8iJb2MHE
In response to the video, former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin acknowledged there were enforcement issues before.
However, he said they regularly acted against vape sales, especially to minors and pointed out that vape products cannot be advertised.
Khairy also apologised that there’s no enforcement against vape sales because there is no law against vape.
Yes, there were enforcement issues before BUT we regularly acted against vape sales especially to minors and vape products could not be advertised.— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) July 17, 2023
Now it’s the Wild West in Malaysia. No enforcement because there is no law against vape. I’m sorry it’s come to this. https://t.co/TALDdd7K2B
Generational Endgame vs Tobacco Harm Reduction
While in office, Khairy announced that Malaysia would adopt the Generational Endgame (GEG) stance, which bans the sale of cigarettes, tobacco and vape products to those born in 2007 and the years after.
Reception to GEG was varied despite the want to address the serious public health issue. Those against GEG said it deprives Malaysians of the freedom of choice.
READ MORE: The GEG Dilemma: Is It Fair Or Ineffective?
Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) was put forward as an alternative to GEG. Unlike the forceful GEG strategy, THR helps those looking to quit adopt a gradual approach which eventually leads to total abstinence from smoking and vaping.
Countries that have adopted the THR strategy showed high success rates. In Australia, THR showed a 70-80% success rate and the strategy has been implemented in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
READ MORE: 42% Quit Smoking Using Vape In Malaysia
Civil groups sue current Health Minister
On 31 March, the government removed liquid nicotine from the Poisons List of controlled substances to enable taxation on e-liquids.
With the removal of vape liquids and gels from the Poisons List in Malaysia, many believe this would add to the growing problem of youths and children vaping in the country.
Three civil society groups have sued Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa over her decision to remove vape liquids and gels from the Poisons List.
They claimed her action opened the doors to anyone, especially children, to buy and use vape without any control over their nicotine levels.
According to Malay Mail, the Finance Ministry, from 1 April, had imposed an excise duty of 40 sen per ml on e-cigarettes and vape liquids with nicotine.
The court case is scheduled to be heard before High Court judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh on 26 July. The three groups are represented by the law firm Kanesalingam & Co.
Since the lawsuit is filed through a judicial review application, the three groups will have to get the court’s leave first for the lawsuit to proceed.