Vape Tax: Moderate approach to regulate smoking products - Anwar

04 Apr 2023 03:43pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. - Bernama PIC
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. - Bernama PIC

KUALA LUMPUR - The move to impose an excise tax on the sale of vape liquids or gels is one of the moderate approaches taken by the government to regulate smoking products containing nicotine and stop the smoking habit among people in this country, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said at the same time, the government remained firm in prohibiting smoking in places such as schools and Parliament apart from increasing the advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, especially among young people.

"Taking quite extreme measures by banning vape, nicotine or cigarettes, is quite drastic and cannot be done by any country in the world. Many choose to smoke even despite the various campaigns done.

"While we are running a campaign about the negative effects of smoking, we also continue implementing this taxation (measure) just to prevent the substances from becoming widely available and cheap.

"I’m aware that all health and professional bodies, without exception, are strongly opposing (the decision to remove nicotine liquids and gels from the scheduled list of controlled substances in the Poisons Act 1952).

"But, as far as the government is concerned, at the moment, it is difficult for us to ban, but we can increase public awareness so that the people will choose (not to smoke),” he said during Minister’s Question Time today.

The Prime Minister said this in reply to Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (PN-Kuala Langat) who wanted to know the justification for the government's action in the removal of liquid and gel nicotine products used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from the Poisons Act 1952.

Anwar said, at the same time, the government remains committed to tabling a bill related to the control of smoking products including e-cigarettes at the Dewan Rakyat session next month.

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"Initially, we agreed to table the bill with a vape tax, but due to the numerous objections, we suggest that the Minister of Health rediscuss the matter carefully with the Members of Parliament and health bodies.

"It (rediscussion) is not to delay (implementation of the tax) as it will be done this year anyway. It is to create mutual understanding on several provisions, especially on the enforcement which is considered too strict," he said.

During the tabling of Budget 2023 on Feb 24, the government announced the proposal to impose an excise duty on liquids or gels containing nicotine used for e-cigarettes or vaping devices.

On April 1, the media reported that the government through the gazettement of the Federal Government Gazette Excise Duties (Amendment) Order 2023, will impose an excise tax at the rate of RM0.40 per millilitre on e-cigarettes liquids or gels containing nicotine. - BERNAMA