Citing Poisons Act, pharmacists urge Health Department to raid vape shops ahead of generational tobacco ban

The Malaysian Pharmacists Society says nicotine is a Class C poison that can only be purchased and dispensed by licensed pharmacists and doctors. — Photos by Shafwan Zaidon

By Radzi Razak

Wednesday August 03, 2022 12:40 MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 – The Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) has called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to carry out nationwide checks and raids on sales of nicotine products by those who are not authorized under the Malaysian Poisons Act 1952, especially vaping retailers.

Its chairman, Amrahi Buang, said that the MPS supports the Tobacco Products and Tobacco Control Bill or the End of Generation (GEG) Bill and that under the poisons, nicotine is a Class C poison which may only be purchased and dispensed by licensed pharmacists and medical practitioners.

“Vaping outlets do not employ pharmacists or doctors for that matter. Although the delay would see the GEG Bill revert to a newly appointed Parliamentary Committee to further improve the Bill, there is no no reason for the Department of Health not to check and raid vaping outlets.

“The last high-profile raid on vape premises was carried out in November 2019, long before Malaysia entered its Covid-19 pandemic phase. This is the right corrective measure via nationwide raids since public welfare has been taken for a ride for several years now as we wait for the GEG Bill to pass,” he said in a statement here.

Last week, the Malaysia E-Vaporisers & Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) pledged its support for the Health Ministry’s bill to ban the sale of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaporizers to Malaysians born after 2005, saying that she would work with the department.

He previously warned that the move could devastate an industry worth RM2.27 billion and insisted that while cigarettes and vapes were different and not to be equated, the two were lumped together in the law Project.

Working with the Malaysia Retail Electronic Cigarette Association, Mevta said the government should develop a regulatory framework for the vaping industry, which has been repeatedly delayed, that would classify them differently from tobacco products.

The bill, proposed by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, was sent to a special parliamentary committee for further consideration after resistance from MPs and the public.

The bill was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat last Wednesday and was presented for second reading on Monday with the aim of passing it yesterday.

However, there was still resistance to the bill, even though several changes were made to it.

Under the proposed bill, children born on or after January 1, 2007 are prohibited from smoking, purchasing or possessing any type of smoking product, including electronic cigarettes or vaping products, even after reached the age of 18.

The law is expected to be implemented by 2025. Those who flout the law can be punished with a maximum fine of RM500, a reduction from the RM5,000 originally proposed.

Maria J. Book