KOTA BARU: The mood among vape lovers and sellers here is gloomy, much like the current weather over the state. It follows the decision by the Kelantan government on Wednesday to clamp down on the vape business statewide from Jan 1.
Vapers and sellers here believe it will be business as usual despite the ban, just that the dealings will go underground.
“It does not matter for me; I will carry out my dealings with my customers quietly,” said a seller who identified himself as Along.
“In fact, I will be saving more because I do not have to pay for business premises permits and other things.
“As long as there is a demand for vape liquids and its gadgets, my business will flourish,” said Along whose vape outlet was among the first to be opened here in 2013.
He said he catered to at least 300 vapers every month and that the business was better than the prepaid mobile top-ups he had been selling before.
“I have invested more than RM100,000 in this, so how do you expect me to sell off the products in two weeks?
“I am determined to sell off my stock and restock it way beyond January 2016,” he said defiantly.
Random checks by The Star found that most of the shops selling vaping products had already brought down their signage.
Some vapers said they would continue the habit.
Kelantan is the second state after Johor to introduce a ban on vape outlets.
State Local Government commitee chairman Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood said the ban on the sale of vaping products and liquids followed a meeting with local authorities, the health department, police, Mufti department and other relevant bodies.
“All agreed that the habit was bad for health and had a bad impact on the younger generation,” he said.
Abdul Fattah said those who ignored the ban would face fines and would have their products seized.
In Kuala Terengganu, there was uncertainty among those selling vape products following news that the state was considering a ban.
One shop owner, who only wanted to be known as Boy, believed that about a quarter of the 120-odd shops selling the merchandise had taken loans from either friends or family to enter the business.
“In my case, I started my shop some six months ago with a capital of RM100,000.
“From that, I borrowed RM30,000 from my uncle and I am repaying him RM3,000 a month for 10 months.
“If the government decides to follow Johor and Kelantan, it is going to be difficult for us,” he said.