MOH: New Bill to be tabled

Wild west no more: Vape products and ecigarettes will soon be put under new taxes and controls.

PETALING JAYA: Thorough regulation on all nicotine products will be introduced in a new Bill that is set to be tabled in Parliament next month, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa amid continuous criticisms from health and consumer groups over the decision to remove them from the Poisons List.

Yesterday, one of them called for members of the Poisons Board to resign.

ALSO READ: Dr Zaliha: Health Ministry to table new bill on regulating nicotine products in May

Dr Zaliha said the new Bill, dubbed as the “Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023” would ensure regulation on nicotine liquids and gel in ecigarettes and vape products.

“The Health Ministry conducted engagement sessions regarding policies under this new Bill, including provisions under the Generational Endgame (GEG) Bill to all stakeholders such as MPs, NGOs, professional bodies and other related groups,” she said yesterday.

The next Parliament sitting will commence on May 22 and will meet for 11 days until June 15.

In a statement yesterday, Dr Zaliha said the ministry had taken into account concerns raised on social media regarding the decision to exclude nicotine products from the Poisons List.

ALSO READ: Pharmacists call on govt to reject proposal to exclude liquid or nicotine gel under Poisons Act

“This exemption is in line with the decision made during the tabling of Budget 2023 by the Prime Minister, who stated that the government will introduce excise duty on nicotine liquid or gel products used for electronic cigarettes and vapes,” she said.

She also said that presently, nicotine liquid and gel were now taxable items, which falls under the purview of the Excise Act 1976.

“The Excise Act has regulatory provisions such as the licensing of manufacturing and warehousing activities involving this industry.

“Anyone who manufactures such goods without a licence can be subjected to legal action,” said Dr Zaliha.

ALSO READ: Proposed exclusion of nicotine gel, liquid from poison control regulations undermines public health

At the same time, she said the ministry would increase awareness campaigns regarding the dangers of smoking by holding smoking prevention and intervention programmes in high schools and higher education institutions.

The exemption of nicotine products was announced in a gazette notice published on Friday.

The ministry said exemption from the Poisons Board had been granted for nicotine liquids and also gels used for ecigarettes and vape products.

Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow said members of the Poisons Board should resign from their respective positions because the government decided to exclude nicotine products in the Poisons List.

He said it was a huge setback for CAP, which has conducted awareness campaigns and programmes on the dangers of smoking.

“It (the removal of nicotine products) is morally unjustifiable.

“The hard work of teachers and NGOs who are fighting for anti-smoking and against nicotine is totally wasted,” said Subbarow.

He urged the ministry to reconsider its stance on the issue for the well-being of the future generation.

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