‘We’ll address loopholes in ecigs, vape sales’

PETALING JAYA: Legislation loopholes related to the uncontrolled sale of ecigarettes or vaping products will be address in the Bill related to regulation of smoking to be tabled in Parliament soon, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The Health Minister said the exemption of nicotine liquids and gel used in electronic cigarettes or vape from poison’s control was implemented in line with the Budget 2023 announcement to impose excise duties on such items.

“Since the decision to impose excise duties was made, the Health Ministry has provided all technical input and views to the Cabinet including the implications of the exemption of nicotine liquids and gel, used in ecigarettes or vape products as a controlled substance under Poisons Act without waiting for the enactment of the new legislation,” Dr Zaliha told The Star in an exclusive interview.

The exemption of nicotine as a controlled substance from the Poisons Act 1952 drew flak from health experts and advocates who felt the controversial move may lead to vape and e-cigarettes being accessible to children.

Dr Zaliha said the ministry was aware and concerned with issues related to the uncontrolled sale of e-cigarettes or vape containing nicotine

“That’s why we will address this lacunae or loophole in our legislation soon by tabling the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 including the Generational Endgame (GEG) at the upcoming Parliament meeting in June” she said.

She said this was confirmed by the Prime Minister himself when he answered a parliamentary question on April 4 this year.

The Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill, said Dr Zaliha, was the same Bill that was tabled in 2022 and included amendments from the Parliamentary Special Select Committee.

“There are two main components in this Bill, which are the control of smoking products and provisions for the GEG. I hope that all Malaysians can support this Bill and that the tabling of this Bill goes smoothly,” she said.

The Bill will also ensure comprehensive control over nicotine-laced products.

“The Bill will regulate the manufacturing of all smoking products including electronic cigarettes or vape which contained liquid nicotine,” she said.

“We have conducted an engagement session regarding the policies that have been set under this Bill including the GEG to all stakeholders such as parliamentarians, non-governmental organisations, professional bodies and other relevant parties.”

The GEG Bill which sought to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007, was referred to the Special Parliamentary Select Committee last year.

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