KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed anti-smoking bill will prohibit underage smokers from vaping or purchasing vape products, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
This would be among a list of other tobacco substitute products that minors aged below 18 would not be able to purchase or use.
The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 Bill also prohibited the sale of tobacco products, smoking substances or substitute tobacco products to minors.
She said this during a media briefing in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 28), that any substances or combination of substances for smoking were part of the prohibited list.
These included substances such as nicotine, propylene, glycol, glycerol, and triethylene glycol which were used in vape.
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"Nowadays we have tea leaves that are laced with nicotine. Those are few things we have identified as smoking products or tobacco substitutes," she told reporters at the briefing after the anti-smoking bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.
She said the delisting of nicotine gel from the Poison’s Act 1954 had also left a loophole in regulating the use of nicotine gel, especially vape.
Dr Zaliha said the provision to regulate vape was included to address the loophole.
"That has led to a loophole in the control of nicotine gel, especially vape. We didn't want this to prolong," she said.
Meanwhile, the regulation of smoking devices would fall under the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living ministry.
The bill was tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, as the government attempted for the third time to legislate the anti-smoking law.
The generational end-game (GEG) element which sought to ban those born in 2007 and onwards from smoking or purchasing smoking products had been done away with.
Instead, the new version of the Bill prohibited the sale of tobacco products, smoking substances or substitute tobacco products or provide any services for smoking to a minor.
Clause 17(1) of the Bill prohibits minors from smoking, chewing or using any tobacco product or smoking any substitute tobacco product.
Minors who bought tobacco products, smoke substances or substitute tobacco products would be fined not more than RM500 or be ordered to do community service pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code or the Child Act 2001.
According to Clause 13 2(a) of the proposed Bill, a person found to have committed an offence of selling tobacco products, smoking substance or substitutes to smoking products or providing any services for smoking to a minor would be fined not more than RM20,000 or imprisoned for not more than a year or both.
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If the offence was committed for the second time, the individual would be liable to a fine of up to RM30,000, imprisonment of up to two years or both.
Corporate bodies committing the same offence, would be fined not less than RM20,000 and not more than RM100,000.
They would be also subjected to a imprisonment of up to two years or both.
The Bill proposed that for repeat offences, the corporate body would be fined between RM50,000 and RM300,000 or a prison term of up to three years or both.
"Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM500 or be ordered to perform community service pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code or the Child Act 2001," the Bill read.