The tabling of the Bill will be the best move to ban access to tobacco and nicotine by Malaysian youth and future generations, minister says
by S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by BERNAMA
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is expecting to table the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill in the next session of the Dewan Rakyat starting 18 July.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said the MoH will bring a memorandum on the bill to the cabinet meeting next week and upon approval, to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat later this month.
He added that the MoH and other ministries will use the meeting to exchange views and provide clarification on the need for the bill to be tabled and gazetted as an Act.
“For the first step, I must convince the Cabinet, we have received all the comments from the ministries, so I am preparing answers to some comments and after it has been agreed, we will then bring it to the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
“We have conducted various engagement sessions with various parties. I will also hold a briefing with members of parliaments (MPs) before the law is discussed, so that they understand the impact of the approval of this bill.”
The Parliament’s House of Representative will be having their second session of the year from 18 July to 4 August.
Khairy said this at a press conference after launching the Generational Endgame Advocacy Roadshow (GEGAR) – WANITA programme at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) today.
Also present were the Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun and Yayasan Budi Penyayang chairman Nori Abdullah.
Commenting further, Khairy said the tabling of the bill was the best move to ultimately ban access to tobacco and nicotine by Malaysian youth and future generations.
Khairy noted that the country has for too long had no comprehensive law regulating tobacco and smoking, including electronic cigarettes.
“We really are in need of a comprehensive law to regulate this, especially electronic cigarettes, which are increasingly unregulated because some irresponsible traders are marketing them to children,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Generational Endgame Advocacy Roadshow (GEGAR) – WANITA programme was held to mobilise non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and women leaders who support efforts to combat smoking and the possession of tobacco products among youths.
Khairy said, if the bill is approved, Malaysia will be the first country in the world to approve the generational law (endgame), which aims towards a tobacco free generation and the ban on selling cigarettes to individuals born after 2005.
Although it is difficult to implement, Khairy said he is confident that it is not impossible with the cooperation of all parties.
The bill, he said, will give the Ministry of Health (MoH) the power to control the electronic cigarette industry which has become more widespread and uncontrolled in recent years when the market is seen to be open to teenagers and children.
“With this bill, we will be able to control the vape industry which has been rampant and out of control for several years, we have allowed this industry to market their products to teenagers and children.
“We will be able to strictly control all sales of vape and electronic cigarettes, and regulate what they put in the vape as we don’t know how many chemicals are put in the liquid sold,” he added.
In this regard, Khairy hoped that the Cabinet and MPs will support his intention to table the bill this month so that it can be implemented immediately to ensure the MoH’s target to reduce the smoking prevalence to 5% by 2040 is achieved.