PETALING JAYA: The government has cleared the way to impose excise duty on over-the-counter sales of vape liquids used for e-cigarettes. Nicotine patches to help stop smoking and the vape products were also exempted from poisons control.
A gazette notification published by the health ministry today said liquid and gel nicotine were now exempted from provisions of the Poisons Act.
Nicotine, with the exception of tobacco, had been classified as a Group C poison which could only be dispensed by doctors and pharmacists.
The exemption also applies to nicotine patches or gum, which are registered under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations.
In a separate announcement, prime minister and finance minister Anwar Ibrahim said the liquid and gel nicotine used for e-cigarettes would now be taxed at RM0.40 sen per millilitre from tomorrow (April 1).
The granting of the exemption comes after health professionals urged the government against exempting liquid and gel nicotine from poisons control, as it may lead to more people using e-cigarettes and vape, including children.
Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amhari Buang said nicotine is highly addictive and quoted studies that have shown it is linked to increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the exemption from poisons control would lead to uncontrolled sales of e-cigarettes and vape with no prohibition against selling to minors.