More time should be given to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) sellers to legalise their business, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

Commenting on the recent nationwide clamp down on vaping by the Health Ministry, he said the action taken was a bit 'drastic'.

"Yes we got a lot of feedback from our action (clamp down) but personally I think, we have to look back at our action and find a proper way to handle this matter because the vape industry right now involved a lot of people.

"Recent reports suggest that in the country alone (Malaysia) we have more than one million e-cigarettes users and five million cigarette smokers, this is a huge number," he told a press conference after launching the Malay College Old Boys Association (MCOBA) Blood Donation Campaign here, Saturday.

Last Tuesday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said a nationwide campaign would be carried out soon to curb the use of liquid containing unlicensed nicotine in e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, personal vapourisers or electronic nicotine delivery systems are battery-powered vapourisers that simulate the feeling of smoking, but without the tobacco combustion.

Dr Hilmi said under the current law, only registered and licensed pharmacies and doctors are allowed to sell nicotine.

"At present, we have only laws governing tobacco (Food Act 1983) and nicotine (Poisons Act 1952), but we are looking at new laws to cover vaping," he said.

Asked on how the e-cigarettes seller could obtain a license, Dr Hilmi said the director-general would make an announcement on the matter soon.

"This is a new issue, so we have to do a proper study before making any regulation on it, and the DG (director-general) will issue a statement regarding this matter soon.

"It is best for vape sellers to cease operations until a new regulation is announced," he said.