29/1/2018 Malaysia – The vape industry in Malaysia had suffered a setback today due raids conducted by the government led by the Ministry of Health. The coordinated raids started in the morning concurrently in a few states in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Ipoh. The Pharmaceutical Department of the Ministry of Health (MOH) were seen conducting investigation on eliquids which contained nicotine (nicotine level and packaging). Reports surfaced in the afternoon with raid conducted in vape shops around Kuching, Miri, Bintulu (Eastern Peninsular Malaysia) and Melaka, Shah Alam and more areas in the Klang Valley. By late afternoon, the entire vape industry already noticed raids were conducted nationwide.
Eliquids with nicotine were confiscated from the retailers. Samples for lab testing were taken for those eliquids with 0 mg nicotine level. Devices and hardware were not affected in these raids, only eliquids.
Initial observation and feedback from the retailers indicated that raids were conducted due to the nicotine usage in eliquids based on the Poison Act (1952). This act indicated every usage of nicotine must be approved by the MOH. Thus the Pharmaceutical Department of MOH were busy conducting inspection and raids on the retail shops.
The President of MEVTA (Malaysia E- Vaporisers & Tobacco Alternative Association), Mr Rizani had asked all retailers to update what was the loss incurred during the raids. MEVTA was assisting the local vape retailers to work together with the local government to come out with mutual benefit solution and a framework for the vape industry. He also mentioned that more than 200 vape shops were reported to be raided and there were more reports coming in. MEVTA would conduct a full report on total of vape shops affected in these raids
Mr Zac Oh, CEO of Vapempire Retail Stores commented that his company suffered the most impact, with 18 of his retail shops nationwide being raided today. He hoped that the government will come out with a guideline soon to avoid these raids to happen again.
One anonymous vape retailer expressed his disappointment with the government’s action for not giving warning prior to these raids. He also added that the government should have given them a dateline to sell the existing inventories (with nicotine) before confiscating their products. He added that he was a small business owner whom will be very affected due to these raids.
A lot of the retail shops closed their doors today as to avoid being raided by the MOH. As of right now, MEVTA is working together with the retailers to determine what are the losses accumulated in today’s raid on Malaysia vape retailers.
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