PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has clarified that underage smokers will not be charged in court or have a criminal record if they were caught smoking under the provisions of the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022.
"They will only be issued a minimal fine and it will not be reflected in their record. I don't understand why some quarters are protesting the bill," he said, adding that there were already regulations in place for tobacco-related offences for young offenders.
He said the claim that children caught smoking would be criminalised was not true and misleading.
Speaking after the launch of the KKMNOW portal today, he said the B40 group would continue to be the most affected by smoking if the bill was not passed.
He said the ministry's data showed that the B40 group was more prone to smoking, which has contributed to a higher number of patients suffering from various health problems, including lung cancer and heart disease.
"Smoking exposes a person to higher health risks and if you look carefully, patients who have health complications from smoking are mostly from the hardcore poor group who are the target of tobacco companies.
"The government is only trying to save them and reduce the possibility of health complications by tabling the bill."
He stressed that the bill would not burden the people.