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Is it yea or nay to vaping?

 | December 18, 2015

Kelantan and Johor have decided to ban it, but Putrajaya seems undecided.

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Yes or Nay

Is it still legal to vape or is it not?

That may be the question playing in the minds of many Malaysians right now, especially those who have switched from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.

On one hand, we have the government flip-flopping on whether or not to outlaw the industry. On the other hand, we have some state governments arresting and hauling vape traders to court.

Until the recent controversy over vaping, shops selling vaping paraphernalia were mushrooming at a dramatic rate nationwide. Today, we still see even teenagers puffing away clouds of smoke in public places without a worry in the world.

As reports surfaced about the side effects of vaping and how it could be as dangerous as smoking tobacco, Putrajaya began cracking its whip against the industry. Early last month, Health Minister S Subramaniam was quoted as saying that his ministry would start confiscating vape juices and punishing those who supply them.

Nearly two months have passed. Today, only confusion reigns as Putrajaya’s absolute position on vaping remains unknown. The government is still undecided on whether to regulate the industry or to ban vaping altogether.

We have cabinet ministers spouting different remarks regarding vaping. A few have taken Subramaniam’s side. We don’t know how many are with Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who fully supports the industry.

This gives the impression that members of the Federal Cabinet can’t seem to agree on an issue of public interest.

However, this confusion doesn’t seem to affect certain state governments, which have started baring their teeth against the industry.

According to news reports, a 27-year-old vape seller was charged under the Poisons Act in Kelantan on Tuesday. He is the first Malaysian to face such a charge. In Johor, three men aged between 27 and 30 were recently arrested for either owning or operating vape outlets. They too face charges under the Poisons Act.

It is worth noting that both the Kelantan and Johor governments have said that vaping would be banned from next year.

Who’s call is it when it comes to deciding on vaping? Is it Putrajaya’s call or is it up to the discretion of state governments?

It’s been reported that a special committee has been set up to look into the issue, but it doesn’t seem to have done much.

Let’s just hope that Putrajaya will settle the confusion soon. If a study is being conducted to determine the pros and cons of regulating the industry or outlawing it, then the government should at least tell us how long the study will take.

Issuing contradictory statements and flip-flopping on an issue that is of concern to many Malaysians only makes Putrajaya appear indecisive.


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