SERI ISKANDAR: A new Act is being formulated to regulate the use of e-cigarettes and shisha, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“We will soon refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Chambers before the new Act is drafted,” he said after launching the national convention on Communication for Behavioural Impact programme to combat dengue at a hotel here yesterday in conjunction with Asean Dengue Day.
He was asked to comment on activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye’s statement on Saturday who said a new Bill should be proposed to control e-cigarettes and shisha.
Lee had said the Bill should also take into account similar products that could influence children, such as the “ghost smoke” candy that was first reported in Sabah.
Dr Dzulkefly said a task force headed by his deputy would be set up to help find ways to control the use of e-cigarettes.
On the ghost smoke issue, he said the ministry had taken the necessary samples and would be making its findings public soon.
In his speech earlier, Dr Dzulkefly said it was pointless for authorities concerned to keep on coming up with new measures to eradicate dengue when the people fail to keep their surroundings clean.
He added that people should take ownership of the problem and ensure their surroundings were free of mosquito breeding sites.
“From January until July 20, 72,356 dengue cases have been reported, compared to 38,190 cases for the same period last year,” Dr Dzulkefly said.
“This is a wake-up call because a 89.5% increase is worrying, with 108 deaths until now compared to 61 for the same period last year.”
In Kota Kinabalu, the ghost smoke candies have disappeared from the shelves following stringent action from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry as well as the Education Department.
State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Georآgie Abas said since the first seizure from premises in Petagas near here last Wednesday, they had not come across the product in follow-up raids.
“However, we are still conducting daily checks in many places across Sabah,” he said yesterday.
State Education Department director Mistirine Radin said they too had not received any more complaints from teachers or parents apart from the one in Papar.
She said school officials were constantly keeping watch to ensure such candies were not sold in school canteens.
Concerns over these candies that seem to simulate cigarette smoking were first raised a couple of weeks ago when a teacher in Papar saw some primary school pupils “vaping”, though health officials later confirmed that nicotine was not found in the candies, believed to have been supplied from Peninآsular Malaysia.
However, numerous samples of these candies have been confiscated due to violations under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011, among others.