Johor government moves to ban vape stores after royal decree

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — The Johor government has confirmed it will prohibit the sale of vape products starting January 1, after the state ruler called for such outlets to be closed down.

News reports quoted Johor state housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi as saying that traders who sold electronic cigarettes after January 1 would face a fine of up to RM2,000 and risk having their licenses revoked and goods confiscated.

Local daily The Star reported Abdul Latiff as saying that the state government will enact a new by-law to prohibit the sale of vape products as vape outlets are currently operating under convenience store licenses.

“They will have to comply with the new by-law from next year,” Abdul Latiff was quoted as saying.

In an interview with The Star published yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said he wanted vape outlets to be shuttered by January 1 over health concerns.

The Malaysian E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta) told local daily Utusan Malaysia that they hoped to meet the Johor palace to discuss the issue.

“We respect and obey the Johor Sultan’s decree. For now, we would like to advise all members and vapers in Johor to follow the decree. But, we hope to be given a chance to meet with the Johor palace officials to talk about this,” Mevta vice-president Ikhbal Zakaria was quoted saying.

The Health Ministry has commended the Johor sultan’s call to ban vape outlets, but did not say if Putrajaya will move to ban vaping.

The federal government has yet to decide on whether it will ban or regulate vaping, with ministers like Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob supporting the industry while the Health Ministry initially raided several vape stores.