KUALA LUMPUR: Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin painted a "free-for-all" scenario involving the marketing and selling of vape products until the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill, also termed as the generational end game (GEG), is tabled and passed in Parliament next month.
This follows the government's decision to remove nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952 list before the GEG is passed in Parliament.
"No action can be taken against the sale and marketing of vape products when the exemption (of nicotine-laced vape liquids and gels from poison controls) was given before the new act (the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill) is in place.
"It is a free-for-all for now.
"I hope @KKMPutrajaya (the Health Ministry) will table the bill on the control of smoking products immediately in the interest of public health," he said on his Twitter account.
The absence of the new law before the exemption of nicotine-laced liquids and gels was granted, said Khairy, caused a lacuna since there was no legislation to control the sale and marketing of vape products.
"That was why we came out with the bill (when Khairy was the health minister). However, we did not manage to pass the bill (in Parliament) at the time.
"The bill (once passed in Parliament) will enable nicotine to be exempted (from poison controls and subsequently allowing the government to impose a tax on sales of vape products)," he said.
He dismissed accusations that the then federal administration had proposed to remove nicotine from the Poisons Act's list after a proposed tax on products containing nicotine liquids was included in the 2022 Budget and the year before.
"This is not true. Although a proposed tax on products containing nicotine liquids was announced previously, I had never signed the gazette granting the exemption for the substance from the Poisons Act.
"My stand and that of the Health Ministry at the time was that a new law must be put in place to regulate the sale of vape liquids before removing nicotine from the Poisons Act's list," he said.