Malaysia’s Cabinet will review a bill this week that would ban smoking for those born after 2005, reports The Edge.
According to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the bill’s “implementation of the generational endgame” provision aims to prevent Malaysia’s younger generations from picking up the smoking habit and getting addicted to tobacco products when they grow older, as well as to reduce the number of smokers in Malaysia to less than 5 percent by 2040.
“This will be able to reduce the risk of premature deaths, chronic diseases and treatment costs that have to be borne by the government due to smoking complications among the community,” Jamaluddin said.
Presently, some 40.5 percent of men and 20 percent of women smoke in Malaysia.
Anticipating resistance to the bill from cabinet members worried about tax revenues and tourist spending, Khairy said that without the legislation, the government would have to bear treatment costs of about MYR8 billion ($1.81 billion) to treat health problems linked to smoking.
Malaysia’s bill, which would also regulate vapor products, is modeled on legislation in New Zealand, which in December 2021 revealed a plan to phase out smoking by gradually raising the smoking age until it covers the entire population.