Laws to ban sale of cigs to those born after 2005 will be tabled in Parliament in July, says KJ

  • Nation
  • Monday, 25 Apr 2022

KAJANG: Specific laws to ban the sale of cigarettes and related tobacco products to Malaysians born after Jan 1, 2005, will be tabled in Parliament this July, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

"At present, there are no specific laws to control the sale of cigarettes and related tobacco products such as vape or ecigarettes.

"As such, we will be tabling such laws in Parliament this July," the Health Minister said when launching the Gegar18 Anti-Smoking Generational End Game event at SMK Bandar Seri Putra on Monday (April 25).

He said the proposed law was aimed at ensuring that the nation's young did not end up as cigarette smokers or vaping on nicotine devices.

"Why don't we just shut the door on smoking completely to a whole new generation of Malaysians?

"We want to ensure that those who are not acquainted with cigarette smoking and vaping, will not come to know of it," he said.

Khairy acknowledged that there had been some quarters who expressed reservations when the ministry was mooting such laws.

Among them, he said, was the issue of the availability of smuggled cigarettes in the market and the lack of enforcement against smoking in prohibited zones.

He noted that over 60% of cigarettes in the country were currently smuggled and sold in the black market.

"Some say 'why not solve these problems first?'

"But it doesn't mean that we should take a less ambitious approach in wanting laws to shut the door of smoking to our younger generation or take a defeatist view on the matter," he said.

He assured that the Health Ministry would be working closely with the relevant enforcement agencies to stamp out cigarette smuggling activities.

"We will go all out and declare war against smuggled cigarettes and put a stop to it once and for all," he added.

He also warned smokers, who disregard warning signs not to smoke in prohibited zones, that they would soon be targeted in anti-smoking enforcement operations.

"There are smokers who don't heed the no-smoking warning signs at restaurants and other prohibited areas.

"We will be coming for you," he said.

Earlier, Khairy said that the nation lost some RM273bil due to the ill effects of smoking.

The losses, he said, encompasses deaths due to smoking and related illness and loss of productivity to the nation's economy.

"It is said that some 20,000 Malaysians die each year due to complications related to smoking.

"This figure seems low and I believe that it is much higher if we take into account related illnesses such as heart disease," he said.

Apart from specific laws to control the sale of cigarettes and related tobacco products to young Malaysians, Khairy said that the Ministry would also make it easier for those wanting to quit smoking to purchase nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products at the pharmacies.

"We will also propose that import duties on NRT be reduced or completely abolished," he added.

Currently, 15% import duty is imposed on nicotine gum products.

Khairy also said that the Ministry would continue with its programme to encourage smokers to quit smoking through its ongoing mQuit programme.

He noted that the mQUIT Masjid programme, which began on April 8, would be continued every Friday in the following months at 12 selected mosques, including the National Mosque, the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpur as well as Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque and Putra Mosque here.

Also present was Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Md Jidin.

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