PETALING JAYA: E-cigarettes and vape-based products should be taxed similar to cigarettes in Budget 2020, says founder and past president of Malaysia E-vaporizer and Tobacco Alternative Association Allan Foo Kit Seng (pic).
He said vape-based products should be considered as part of tobacco control as it was commonly seen as a form of addiction just like cigarettes.
“We are just replacing cigarettes with vape, which contains nicotine.
“I call for the same taxation to be imposed on the industry, ” he said in an interview where he was asked for suggestions regarding the vape and e-cigarette industry in the upcoming Budget.
It was reported that the government’s coffers were losing some RM6bil in tax revenues annually, no thanks to illegal tobacco and illegal vape-based products.
Besides losing tax revenue, Malaysia has also found itself in an unenviable position of being a global leader in illicit cigarette penetration.
According to JT International Bhd (JTI Malaysia), the last two years saw that the illegal market for cigarettes and vape accounting for 70% of total consumption in Malaysia.
Foo said a tax similar to the tobacco industry would help reduce numbers by making vaping or smoking e-cigarettes less accessible to the public, especially the younger generations.
“The Health Ministry should also consider using vape as an alternative treatment for those who want to quit smoking.
“The government should tax it and at the same time use it as a form of treatment, ” he added.
Foo also called on the government to do more research and development to identify the side effects of vaping and e-cigarettes.
On suggestions to ban vape, he said such calls were based on “the fear of the unknown”.
“We should look at vape or e-cigarettes like we look at syringes.
“Syringes can be used to inject medication into your body but some people have abused it to inject harmful substances instead.
“Are we supposed to completely call for a ban on the syringe? Those who are calling for a complete ban have missed the point, ” he said.
The public is encouraged to share their suggestions for the upcoming Budget via a survey on Budget2020 website (http://belanjawan20202.treasury.gov.my).
The survey, consisting of 12 questions about the public’s priority for Malaysia’s development, is available until Oct 6.
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