New law on cigarettes and e-cigarettes being drafted

The new bill will underline all regulations and controls on e-cigarettes and vapes, including the sales guidelines


The government is drafting a new act on regulating tobacco consumption comprising traditional tobacco cigarettes and its electronic alternatives.

According to a report from Bernama, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said at present, tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes are being regulated under different directives.

“The new bill will underline all regulations and controls on e-cigarettes and vapes, including the sales guidelines,” he said in the report.

Cigarettes are regulated by the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 under the Food Act 1983, while e-cigarette liquid containing nicotine falls under the Poisons Act 1952.

The new act, which could address the tobacco industry’s contraband issue, will cover all aspects of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, including the product contents, its manufacturing and the supply chain of the tobacco industry.

Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry is looking to table and submit the act to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) for review by the end of the year.

Last month, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT) told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that it is working with the government to develop laws related to e-cigarettes as more smokers had shifted to electronic options.

The company stated that as cigarette producers try to stem the decline in sales of traditional cigarettes, more smokeless devices which contain tobacco-like products have been entering the market.

The global market for e-cigarettes is expected to reach US$26.8 billion (RM109 billion) by 2023.

It is also estimated that Malaysians consumed 18 billion sticks of cigarettes in 2016, while 57.1% or 10.29 billion sticks were illegally brought into the country.

The report added that the tobacco industry notes that for every 100 sticks of cigarettes smoked by Malaysians, 63 are contraband. The illegal activities had been estimated to cost the government RM8 billion in taxes.

According to a report shared by BAT, illegal cigarette consumption rose to a staggering 64% of the total tobacco consumption in the fourth quarter of 2018, largely due to the more than 110% jump in cigarette-related duties since 2011.