Health Ministry ready to table Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry (MOH) is ready to table the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill, which includes the generational endgame (GEG) policy, during the ongoing second meeting of the second session of the 15th Parliament.

Health Minister’s Special Adviser Dr Helmy Haja Mydin (pic) said the Bill is of paramount importance to protect the health of the young generation and it comprises two main aspects, namely the control of smoking products including vape and e-cigarettes and the implementation of GEG policy.

"The GEG policy is only for the ban on buying and using, as the ban on keeping and possessing cigarettes or vaping products has been dropped (from the bill) on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee.

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"The ban will apply to all, including the younger generations born from 2007 onwards,” he told Bernama recently.

At the same time, he said the bill includes control over registration, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, packaging and sales of smoking products.

"Any violation, including selling of cigarettes to children in the GEG group will be an offence when the bill is passed,” he said.

Dr Helmy, who is also a respiratory consultant at the Kuala Lumpur Pantai Hospital, said the Special Select Committee had also agreed to several amendments relating to the ban on those born in 2007 onwards.

"Among their recommendations is the reduction of the fine from RM5,000 to RM500 to avoid burdening the GEG group.

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"Apart from that, the community service order for the smoking offence committed by the GEG is also being introduced and will be enforced when the law is enacted. This order is meant to educate and show that the policy is not purely punitive,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the issue of body checks by MOH enforcement officers for that group was solved by omitting the ban on the possession of smoking products and strengthening enforcement through education.

Dr Helmy said there is also a clause stating that a Periodic Report needs to be prepared and tabled in Parliament before January 2025 and every five years.

"The report will be about the effectiveness of the ban on the sale of tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitute products or smoking devices and related matters,” he said.

Dr Helmy also expressed hope that, after taking into account the recommendations of the Special Select Committee, the bill will receive support from all members of Parliament for Malaysia to one day be a smoking-free nation.

"As a respiratory consultant, I have seen many patients suffering from the effects of smoking and vaping. We all know the complications of diseases caused by smoking. Among the main complication is Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease or COAD which causes patients to have difficulty breathing due to damaged lungs.

"A new complication caused by vaping has also been detected, which is EVALI or Electronic Vape Associated Lung Injury.

"For the record, over 30 cases of EVALI have been reported to MOH so far,” he said, adding that the complication was not just affecting the patients, but also their wives and children. - Bernama

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