June 5, 2017

Malaysian State Threatens Prison for Public Vaping

In the Malaysian state of Selangor, vaping in a park could earn you a fine of more than $2,300, and up to two years in prison. The new law will also apply to shopping complexes, air-conditioned buildings, government property, hospitals and gas stations.The penalties apply to smokers too.

Selangor is the most populous state in Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country of 30 million that lies between Indonesia and Thailand. Though Islam is the state religion, Malaysia has a large vaping population and industry — and also a large number of smokers.

Religious authorities in the country have declared vaping “haram,” meaning forbidden by Islam. However, the religious edict is widely ignored. Smoking cigarettes is also haram.

The new punishment for vaping and smoking are part of the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which just went into effect. According to The Straits Times, there are 13 parks in which the law will be enforced.

The newspaper says the bans are part of the country’s goal of being smoke-free by 2045. As is often the case, governments in developing countries bend over backwards to please the World Health Organization, and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The FCTC has advised countries to ban or restrict vaping.

The WHO was the first public health organization to take a stand against vaping, in 2008. And it remains to this day committed to restricting smokers’ access to safer nicotine products like e-cigs and snus.

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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