The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, has reportedly banned vape in the southern state and has given the owners of vape outlets a month's deadline, 1 January, to close down
His Royal Highness in an interview with The Star was reported saying that "I want the outlets to close down by 1 January 2016, and I do not want to hear any excuses, adding that the matter should not be politicised or turned into a racial issue.
"This is a question of health and its effects on young people. It has nothing to do with businesses and for sure, it has nothing to do with race. I am greatly disappointed that some people are bringing up racial threats and political threats," he told The Star.
The Monarch has ordered the state executive council to meet next week to hasten the process, saying the state had the right to invoke bylaws under the local government laws to shut down vape outlets.
He said the ban in Johor would cover all sales of vape products.
"It is also very clear, under the laws, that these vape outlets cannot sell nicotine, so why are we expected to close an eye to such disregard of the law? If it is not allowed, then it is not allowed. It is that simple. If we allow this to continue, we will be seeing a whole new form of addiction among our youth," the Sultan was quoted as saying by The Star, adding that there would be long-term health effects of vaping and the medical cost, borne by taxpayers, would be staggering.
The Sultan, while warning those who flout the law after 1 January would face consequences, said politicians shouldn't bow down to threats by the vape business community and pander to them
“Why are these politicians giving in to these threats? I want to know if these businessmen would allow their children to vape if it is so safe and healthy as they claim. Do you want to see your children puffing away?
"It is a new business. What kind of businesses were they doing before this? Go back to your previous work," he said.
The Health Ministry's raid on vaping liquids this month became a political issue, with traders warning Putrajaya it risk losing over a million voter should they persist in the clampdown. To which, UMNO Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob came forward to defend the vape industry as a Bumiputera success story that should not be culled.
The Rural and Regional Development Minister had said the Health Ministry’s enforcement against the sales of vapes containing nicotine would kill the Malay-dominated industry.
"Another shocking statement by the Health Ministry. The vape sellers can no longer be in business as giant companies own the pharmacies, including the foreign ones,” said Ismail Sabri in a post on his Facebook account.
Health experts have said that there has not been any scientific evidence to prove that e-cigarettes would help smokers with addiction instead it would start a new form of addiction