Having vape tax without tobacco control law could be disastrous, says NGO grouping

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) is against the planned tax on all vape products before the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, or Generational Endgame (GEG) Bill, becomes law.

MCTC, which comprises 70 NGOs, professional bodies and medical associations, said the tax would run counter to the government's intention to create a smoke-free generation of Malaysians by 2040.

ALSO READ: 'Regulate first, tax later'

"The vape tax should only be introduced after the GEG Bill is passed in Parliament and all vape products are regulated.

"Without a proper legal framework, unregulated vape products might be freely promoted and sold online to underaged children, and unregulated vape juices mixed with drugs and other dangerous substances," it said in a statement on Wednesday (March 29).

Therefore, MCTC urged the government to reconsider introducing the tax until the GEG Bill is retabled and passed in Parliament.

ALSO READ: Tobacco generational endgame remains elusive

"A majority of Cabinet members and MPs including the Opposition are in support of this Bill so there is no excuse not to table it immediately.

"The Bill has gone through amendments by the Special Parliamentary Select Committees so that it is in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Malaysia Madani concept.

"MCTC encourages all Malaysians to support the GEG Bill so that it can be passed as soon as possible," it added.

Under the Bill, children born in 2007 and subsequent years will be prohibited from smoking, buying or possessing any type of smoking product, including electronic cigarettes or vape products, even after reaching the age of 18.

ALSO READ: Poor implementation could scupper tobacco control policy

When tabling the revised Budget 2023 on Feb 24, Anwar said nicotine vape liquids are still illegally sold with an estimated RM2bil or more in sales.

Therefore, the government proposed a tax on nicotine-based products used in electronic cigarettes, with half of the excise duties channelled to the Health Ministry in support of the GEG Bill.

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