• May 26, 2024

Malaysia Tobacco Law Passes Upper House

 Malaysia Tobacco Law Passes Upper House
Photo: natatravel

Malaysia’s upper house of Parliament has passed the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, reports The Star. Earlier, the legislation had been approved by the country’s lower house.

The legislation prohibits the sale and purchase of tobacco products, smoking materials of smoking substitute products and providing any smoking-services to minors.

A provision banning the sale of tobacco products to individuals born from Jan. 1, 2007, onwards in an earlier version of the legislation was dropped.

The so-called generational tobacco ban (GEG) was abandoned after the Attorney General’s Chambers suggested it might violate the constitution by creating different rules for different age groups. Critics however blamed tobacco industry pressure for Malasia’s U-turn.

A day earlier, Malaysia’s newly appointed health minister, Dzulkefly Ahmad, expressed his regrets for the GEG exclusion.

He noted that 18 engagement sessions with stakeholders and three roundtable discussions had taken place before the bill was finalized.

“However, human plans, and Allah decides, and fate has placed us here today, where you cannot see or read the GEG provisions in this bill,” said Ahmad. “I apologize sincerely.”

In related news, new figures suggested that vaping has overtaken smoking as the main method of nicotine consumption among young Malaysians. According to the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control (SEATCO) Alliance, e-cigarette use among this age group is about 30 percent, compared with 12.5 percent for smoking.

“Claims of harm reduction are unproven and deceptive,” said SEATCO. “It is more accurate to say this is harm initiation for youths that have never smoked and harm substitution for smokers trying to quit,” it added.

The organization called on Malaysia to follow the example of neighboring countries that have banned e-cigarettes. Vapor products are prohibited in Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Thailand.