MoH studying cigarette display ban at sales premises

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic TMR

THE Health Ministry (MoH) is reviewing the proposal for cigarette products not to be displayed at sales premises following the proposed implementation of a smoking ban for individuals born in 2005 onwards.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said the matter was among the proposals submitted in terms of product display, apart from product packaging without displaying the brand as implemented in several other countries.

“If implemented, it will not be in the bill (RUU) but in the rules that come later after the RUU.

“However, this matter requires an engagement session not only with health NGO groups, but also the owners of the premises because if the display ban is implemented, the owners will have to make modifications to their premises.

“This involves many stakeholders. Once we finish studying the level of its effectiveness in other countries and if it is agreed by everyone, we can make a decision,” he said after launching the World Asthma Day 2022 in Kuala Lumpur today.

Last month, Khairy was reported to have said that the draft of the smoking ban bill for individuals born in 2005 was in the final stages and was being examined by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

In January, Khairy announced the proposal while attending the 150th Session of the World Health Organisation Executive Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to address the negative impact of tobacco on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Earlier, in his speech, Khairy said the Health Facts 2021 by the MoH revealed that chronic respiratory diseases including asthma were the second highest cause of death in MoH hospitals.

“It is a sad thing because most of the deaths from asthma can be prevented if patients are diagnosed and start appropriate treatments.

“Based on a recent local study, many asthma patients in the country do not have good asthma control, in which over 50% of patients reported that their disease is partially controlled or uncontrolled.

“This fact underscores the burden of asthma on patients, yet like all NCDs the burden is not on patients alone, but also on their families and caregivers as well as economic productivity and quality of life,” he said.

Khairy noted that his party would continue to optimise the delivery of the best healthcare to the community regardless of social or economic backgrounds, including for asthma patients.

“It will happen directly in terms of more resources for patients and indirectly as we did through the Tobacco Smoking Control Bill, which will definitely benefit patients with respiratory diseases like asthma,” he added.