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(File pix) The government will not ban e-cigarette but will regulate it based on other countries’ experience. Pix by Muhammad Sulaiman

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not ban e-cigarette but will regulate it based on other countries’ experience, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said.

Dr Subramaniam said further deliberation is needed before enacting new e-cigarette laws as vaping is a new trend and could be used for smoke secession tool.

"The ministry's stand is clear, not to ban e-cigarette but regulate the industry. Vape flavours without nicotine could not be regulated under the existing Poisons Act and thus not our jurisdiction.

“What we might need is to enact new laws because if we allow shops to sell nicotine (in e-cigarettes), it will be in violation of the existing laws (Poisons Act) which listed it as illegal substance,” he said during the winding up speech for 2016 Budget earlier.

"We are also looking at experience of other countries on how e-cigarette is regulated. FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has set new regulations and we can look at that. I understand the sentiment, but as a Health minister, I am responsible to take care of Malaysians' health," he added.

Dr Subramaniam said in the United Kingdom, e-cigarettes can be used as smoke secession tool and accepted under new laws.

“We can accept this. But our concern is that those who did not smoke previously would start vaping and nicotine is an addictive substance and may increase number of nicotine addicts.

"So the Cabinet decided to control the use of e-cigarette, but the process is not easy. FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) had been trying to control this to ensure vape flavours do not contain harmful substances but a long time was taken to prove that.”

He added that the use of nicotine in cigarettes was excluded from Poisons Act and regulated under Tobacco Control Act.

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