Kuala Lumpur, 29 March 2023 — A proposal currently being considered by the Government today to exclude liquid or gel nicotine from the list of controlled substances scheduled under the Poisons Act 1952 should not go forward as it runs contrary to public health.
“This is a shocking development,” remarked Azrul Mohd Khalib, Chief Executive of the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, “The Galen Centre has already previously pointed out in a statement issued on 25 January 2023 that as it is, vape in Malaysia remains unregulated, unrestricted, and out of control. 4.9% of the population currently vape and this number is rising by the day. While there continues to be less than 2% of smokers who are young women, they now make up more than 30% of those who vape. The estimated number of new vapers have also overtaken the number of new smokers.”
“As of today, there is already no existing regulation on vape. In the absence of the proposed Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, there is currently a massive gap in the existing legislation regarding the marketing and sale of products containing nicotine, specifically vape and e-cigarettes.”
“By removing nicotine from the scheduled list of controlled substances and no alternative or replacement regulation, this move would remove any possibility of even attempting to regulate the nicotine content of these products. Cheap vape disposables containing high concentrations of liquid nicotine will flood the market,” Azrul pointed out.
“Already, the nicotine content for vape products available in this country is among the highest in the world. A person will usually inhale between 1 and 3 mg of nicotine from a single cigarette. 16 mg per ml of nicotine is approximately 1.6% nicotine. In the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and Indonesia, where vape is regulated and taxed, the maximum strength permitted is only 20 mg, or 2%. However, in Malaysia, vape liquids in a single disposable are available in 3%-5% concentrations. Vape disposables with 5% nicotine are easily available in this country for RM 10-20. You cannot get these in most countries which regulate and tax vape. Removing nicotine from the scheduled list, will exacerbate the problem of nicotine addiction in Malaysia.”
“Vape and e-cigarettes are part of this problem. Vapers find that though they may have stopped smoking cigarettes, their addiction has transferred to e-cigarettes and vape. Some will be dual users, where they smoke both tobacco and e-cigarettes. Stop smoking clinics are already seeing patients who are both smoking cigarettes and vaping. The age of those becoming newly addicted to nicotine through vape, are also getting younger. Children as young as 10 are becoming newly addicted to nicotine,” he emphasised.
“The solution to overcoming opposition and controversy presented by the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill should not be to remove nicotine altogether from being regulated under this legislation. It does not make sense and is against public health priorities. If the Government is serious about regulating and taxing vape and e-cigarettes, it should drop this proposal and look instead to tabling and passing a revised version of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill.”