The multi-million-dollar Malaysian vape market got a crushing blow as every vape shop in the country was recently raided one afternoon. Many were shut down and products were confiscated.
As proof that “he who has the gold rules,” this venture seems to have been orchestrated by the Pharmaceutical Services without knowledge or approval from the Ministry of Health. The logistics and people involved indicate that it has been planned out for several weeks.
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organization Secretary-General Judy Gibson said, “The police officers swooped on every single independent vape shop.”
All nicotine products were confiscated, effectively shutting down the industry. Contact details of distributors were also confiscated, and the suspicion is that they will be next.
As complex as laws are in the United States, Malaysia and many Asian countries are worse.
Three convoluted agencies encompass different responsibilities in Malaysia and they theoretically work in unison. The Health Ministry monitors nicotine sales while the Department of Standards covers non-nicotine products. The Ministry of Domestic Trade also covers non-nicotine products along with hardware.
With an estimated one million vapers in Malaysia generating about 117 million dollars, this is a blow to business owners as well as agencies receiving tax dollars.
The Malaysian population is over 60 percent Muslim, who have decreed that vaping is forbidden.
According to their web site, the Pharmacy Services Program is under the Ministry of Health Malaysia, which is responsible in ensuring “that public gets access to safe, efficacious and quality pharmaceutical products.”
It was founded in 1951 and initially designed to help police poison and dangerous drug challenges. But speculators say that Big Pharma is the puppet master behind the scenes.
The fact that the Ministry was not told about the raids indicate that top influencers were able to instigate the coup.
Do you have questions about mastering the vape industry? If so, send them on to norm@VapeMentors.com and we’ll address them in future columns.
Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors – a vape industry consulting company for vape shops, eCommerce sites and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vape business podcast in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads.
Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.