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October 29, 2021

Malaysia Will Legalize and Tax Nicotine Vaping

One of the world’s largest vaping markets will finally include legal nicotine when the Malaysian government formalizes its plan to regulate and tax vaping products. Consumer products containing nicotine are currently illegal in Malaysia.

Multiple Malaysian news outlets reported today that the government has included an excise tax on nicotine-containing e-liquid in its budget proposal for 2022. The decision was announced by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

No details are yet available on how regulation and taxes will be implemented. On Oct. 26, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin informed the World Health Organization that Malaysia would regulate vaping products to prevent youth access.

The decision was confirmed in a tweet by the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), which congratulated Malaysian vaping advocates for “their hard work in getting this past the post.”

Malaysia has long enjoyed a large and thriving vape market—one of the largest in the world—despite nicotine being illegal to sell, except for licensed pharmacies and medical practitioners, and only for medical purposes. Government enforcement of the law has been spotty, although police have occasionally conducted large-scale raids and seized products suspected of containing nicotine.

Consumer vape advocates from MOVE Malaysia and industry trade groups have worked energetically to promote reasonable regulation of nicotine vaping, and have successfully reached the public with stories in major Malaysian news outlets.

Malaysia will become a rare exception in Southeast Asia, where vape bans are common. Rumours earlier this week that the government would soon legalize nicotine vaping caused anxiety among tobacco control groups in Malaysia.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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