International health groups give thumbs up to GEG bill

SEVERAL individuals and international health groups have hailed the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, describing it as a game-changer for tobacco control.

In a joint statement today, they expressed full support for Malaysia’s visionary approach in introducing the bill, known as the Generational End Game (GEG), to protect its future generations from the tobacco scourge.

“Malaysia’s GEG is a sensible policy proposal to insulate youths from lifelong addiction and chronic diseases, which will also reap social and economic benefits in the long term.

“The GEG is also consistent with Article 16 (sales to and by minors) of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which encourages parties to implement measures beyond those required by the Convention (Article 2.1),” the statement said.

It said the GEG will greatly enhance Malaysia’s efforts to tackle the tobacco pandemic more effectively and join many other countries and jurisdictions that are focusing on the tobacco end game.

“In 2021, over 140 organisations around the world called for the phase-out of cigarette sales. This is the bare minimum that governments should do to end the tobacco pandemic that kills more than 28,000 Malaysians and up to eight million people globally each year,” it said.

The signatories of the statement include the Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) United States of America, ASH Canada, ASH Scotland, African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA), Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control (Hong Kong), European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) and Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

The bill was tabled for first reading by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on July 27 this year but was then referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee for fine-tuning.

It is set to be retabled in the Dewan Rakyat this month, and Khairy is confident the bill will receive the support of the majority of Members of Parliament after amendments are made to it.

It provides for a ban on individuals born in 2007 and thereafter from smoking, buying or possessing tobacco products or smoking devices.  — BERNAMA / TMRPic