KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is in the process of drawing up legislation to manage cigarette smoking as well as the use of electronic cigarettes or vapes.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said that currently, it is difficult for the government to ban vaping due to the lack of laws governing the activity, including vaping liquid which do not contain nicotine.
Lee said the ministry intends to ban vaping in the future.
“If there is evidence that electronic cigarettes can actually help chronic smokers kick the habit, then it can only be prescribed by doctors,” he said.
The minister was addressing a press conference after officiating the 27th National Urology Assembly here on Friday.
The Health Ministry had last month announced that all eateries nationwide would be cigarette smoke-free zones from Jan 1 next year onwards, with the directive to be enforced at all eateries comprising restaurant, coffee shops and hawker stalls located along the roadside.
The ministry said those who did not adhere to the ruling could face action under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004, issued under the Food Act of 1983.
Anyone caught breaching the ban will face a fine of RM10,000, with eateries that fail to enforce the law to be slapped with a fine of RM2,500.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had on Thursday also clarified that vapes and shisha containing nicotine will be included under the no-smoking regulation in all food premises.
The move was met with opposition from the Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors General Association (MSCSPGA), Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) and the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas), which collectively have around 30,000 food operators under its purview.
MSCPGA president Datuk Ho Su Mong said the government should stop smoking habits through other means and such ruling was not practical as 40 per cent of their customers were smokers.