Since 2016, Johor has banned using and selling vape devices and related products. While this should be a simple answer to a simple question, recent developments across Malaysia in the spring of 2023 have made this ban more complicated and confusing. Some have argued that imposing a new federal excise tax is a deterrent, while others think it doesn’t prevent a growing use of vapes across the country.
Despite the government imposing federal taxes, read on to discover Johor’s stance on vaping and if it continues its ban in the face of government permission.
What’s Included in the Ban and How Does it Differ from Federal Taxes?
Since 2016, Johor has banned the sale of vaping products, including e-liquid and related vaping equipment. While manufacturers hoped to answer the question, ‘Is vaping better than smoking?’ before the ban occurred, the Sultan of Johor ordered the ban, giving the owners of vaping outlets one month’s notice.
While the local government has banned vaping and selling vape products since 2016, recent developments complicate the matter considerably. The Malaysian government has kept the ban despite imposing an excise tax on nicotine e-liquids and gels popular in vaping devices. Put simply, the excise tax should increase the price of these commodities when people purchase them.
However, since all outlets should be closed in Johor, introducing this tax proves that vaping is still active in Malaysia, and the hope is that this new tax will act as a deterrent.
How Has Johor Upheld the Vaping Ban Since 2016?
While the government’s decision to impose this excise tax might appear to contradict the ban imposed by the Sultan in 2016, the Johor government seeks to maintain the prohibition on vape products as decided on the 1st of January 2016. With threats to act against stubborn sellers and the possibility of fines, Johor still seeks to keep its ban going.
It appears that since the government decided to impose the excise tax as of the 1st of April 2023, local governments have been waiting for instructions from the federal government, as the policies of the local Johor government and the broader Malaysian government don’t quite align.
Any Changes to Johor’s Vaping Policy Following Recent Developments?
In light of the change in legislation, it might seem more apt now than ever to wonder, ‘Is vaping common in Malaysia?’. According to a Cambridge University Press journal, the lack of strict regulatory policies on the sales of e-cigarettes and cartridges contributes to the alarmingly high rates of smoking in the country. However, Johor refuses to change its outlook.
With the original ban put in place in part to look out for community health, Johor retains its stance on vaping, even if vapes are still attractive to people – particularly young people. Notably in Malaysia, it seems that most smokers start in their teens, posing a dangerous health risk.
While many places have banned vaping, Johor is one of the few that has maintained its ban since recent developments in the spring. The State House and Local Government committee chairman, Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor, outlined that the approximate seven years of the ban would continue.
To date, Johor is still imposing a state-wide ban on vaping products, and despite the contradictory excise tax, the state has maintained that those caught using vapes can and will have to face repercussions. Unlike other areas of Malaysia, the local councils of Johor haven’t issued business operating licenses to those who wish to sell (or are selling) vapes and related devices.
Instead, individuals and businesses should expect the local authorities to take action against them should councils discover the selling of vapes, e-liquids, or nicotine gels.
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While there is still debate over whether vaping is better than smoking due to the lack of thorough scientific evidence, it’s clear that while Johor retains its ban, other areas of Malaysia are preparing for vapes to be sold and used.
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