Enforcement key to eradicating smoking habit

KUALA LUMPUR: While the recently approved tobacco and vape control bill removes loopholes in nicotine control, enforcement efforts need to be stepped up to eliminate smoking habits, say health experts.

They also say that the government should monitor the black market for tobacco and e-cigarettes.

National Cancer Society Malaysia managing director Dr Murallitharan Munisamy said the loophole allowing the sale and purchase of nicotine-laced products had finally been closed with the passage of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in the Dewan Negara.

He said while the Generational Endgame (GEG) provision had been excluded, the current bill should not be underplayed as it set a clear picture on controlling and regulating tobacco and e-cigarettes.

"With the passing of this bill, it is important to note that this will be the final nail in the coffin that disallows nicotine, effectively bringing it back under control.

"Those who are under 18 years old now cannot buy tobacco or conventional tobacco products or any other smoking product.

"So it is now a bigger fence that protects those who are under 18."

The Dewan Negara approved the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 yesterday in a voice vote, following passage in the Dewan Rakyat last Nov 30.

The bill, presented by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, includes provisions such as prohibiting the sale and purchase of tobacco products, smoking materials, or tobacco substitute products, as well as providing any smoking services to minors.

It also witnessed the removal of provisions related to GEG, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes, as well as smoking for those born on or after Jan 1, 2007.

The bill containing Clauses 1 to 54 was presented again for the second reading in the Dewan Negara on Tuesday, before being presented for the third reading yesterday and debated by 22 members of the Dewan Negara.

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