VAPE shops in Ipoh are closing down as the local vaping trend slowly evaporates into thin air.
Zulkarnain Mohd Razeman, of the Vaper Clan shop in Taman Perpaduan Indah, said sales have been extremely slow over the past two months.
“To my knowledge at least six vape shops, not counting the smaller stores located at places such as Yik Foong Shopping Complex, have closed down.
“I fear it is only a matter of time before more of us go out of business. Things are really bad right now. There are actually days when we have zero sales,” he said.
According to Zulkarnain, their current predicament is the result of a very successful attempt by the government to clamp down on the vape industry.
“Firstly, they got the National Fatwa Council to declare vaping as haram for Muslims.
“The fear of being caught has contributed to many Muslims giving up vaping.
“The Health Ministry is also going all out to discourage people from vaping by putting up all these banners in government hospitals.
“This is causing people to worry. They don’t know who to believe and what to think about vaping,” added Zulkarnain.
Like the owners of Vaper Clan, Lai Lim Bin of TDF Enterprise is only waiting for the time to come to close down his vape business in Yik Foong.
“I stopped ordering new stock a couple of months back.
“I’m trying to sell off whatever stock I have in hand in hopes of cutting my losses.
“I’ll be very thankful if I can break even,” said Lai, adding that many stalls selling vape liquid and devices at the shopping complex have already gone out of business.
Last December, the National Fatwa Council decreed that vaping is haram for Muslims since scientific studies and findings suggest it does not bring any benefit to users.
This was followed by a ban on the use and sale of vape products in Johor and Kelantan from Jan 1 while in Perak, the state government put an immediate stop to the issuance of premises licences to sellers of e-cigarettes and vape products.
A college student, who only wanted to be known as Jason, said he gave up vaping not because he feared being caught by religious authorities.
“I took up vaping in the hopes it would help me quit smoking cigarettes as touted by some.
“But the truth is that it does nothing to help you do that. Vaping is not a shortcut to quitting cigarettes.
“I came to this conclusion a year after taking up vaping,” he said.
The 25-year-old, who has been smoking since his school days, added with vaping, it was more of “playing” with vapour than reducing one’s dependency on nicotine.
“I was still craving cigarettes throughout the entire time I was vaping.
“Plus, nothing beats having a cigarette in between my fingers,” he said.
Casual smoker Brandon Chin admits that he had taken up vaping at the height of the trend a year ago due to influence from friends.
“It was something new and everyone was vaping at the time, but I have to admit that the novelty is long gone.
“Now, I only vape once in a blue moon – alone,” he said.