A coalition of health experts and doctors have expressed their concern on the recent taxation on vapes and ecigarretes.
The group called the Malaysian Health Coalition released a statement on Tuesday (April 4), urging the government to work towards eventually banning all tobacco and vaping products as a whole.
Below is their statement in full.
The Malaysian Health Coalition is extremely concerned and disappointed with the decision to collect excise taxes on nicotine liquids and gel used in e-cigarettes and vaping devices beginning 1 April 2023. This decision was announced on 31 March 2023 in the Federal Gazette.
We note current Malaysian laws do not explicitly allow or explicitly ban e-cigarettes or vaping devices. Therefore, e-cigarettes and vaping devices exist in a legal “no-man’s land”, without any regulations to govern their use or reduce their harm to vulnerable populations like children or teenagers.
In order for this excise tax to be legally possible, the Health Minister had to exempt nicotine liquids and gels from the Poisons Act 1952 (also announced on 31 March 2023). We regret that this exemption was administratively necessary because there is a glaring absence of a decision on whether vaping should be allowed or banned in Malaysia, or how vaping should be regulated.
We are deeply concerned about the public health implications of vaping and tobacco use, especially in children and teenagers. We support the Generational End Game and we favour an outright ban on vaping. Strict regulations will bring Malaysia in line with increasingly prevalent international norms. Countries that partially or completely ban vaping include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand and many states in the United States.
We urge the government to delay the implementation of the excise tax collection and the removal of nicotine from the Poisons List until the Tobacco Regulations & Control Bill is passed, and to debate and decide on the legal status of vaping in Malaysia as part of the Bill. We further urge the government to impose gradually stricter regulations on tobacco as a whole, with an ambition to achieve a Zero Smoking Nation. No amount of taxes collected is worth the health of Malaysians, the health of our children, and the health of our health system.
Malaysian Health Coalition
Full signature list (available on myhealthcoalition.org):
Academy of Medicine Malaysia
Association of Malaysian Optometrists
College of Anaesthesiologists
College of Opthalmologists
Dermatological Society of Malaysia
IKRAM Health Malaysia
Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia
Lung Cancer Network of Malaysia
Malaysian Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology
Malaysian Association of Clinical Biochemists
Malaysian Association of Dental Public Health Specialists
Malaysian Association of Environmental Health
Malaysian Coalition of Ageing
Malaysian Dental Association
Malaysian Family Medicine Specialists’ Association
Malaysian Medical Association
Malaysian Paediatric Association
Malaysian Pharmacists Society
Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists
Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology
Malaysian Society of Geriatric Medicine
Malaysian Society of Othalmology
Malaysian Thoracic Society
Medical Mythbusters Malaysia
Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia
Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia
Public Health Malaysia
Assoc Prof Dr Uma Devi Palanisamy
Dato’ Dr Amar Singh-HSS
Dato’ Dr Jahizah Hassan
Dr Khor Swee Kheng
Dr Manoharan Shunmugam
Dr Sri Wahyu Taher
Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman
Prof Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail
Prof Dr Asri Said
Prof Dr GR Letchuman Ramanathan
Prof Dr Mohd Zamrin Dimon
Prof Dr Roslina Abdul Manap
Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal
Prof Dr Zaleha Abdullah Mahdy
Source: The Star | 4 Apr 2023