Dr Wee: More study needed so anti-smoking Bill will be effective

PETALING JAYA: Further study is needed to ensure the effectiveness of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The MCA president said this includes finding a way to tax the industry effectively, and even possibly banning any products found to be too harmful.

Dr Wee said a focus should also be put on regulating tobacco products such as cigars, shisha, cigarettes and vape devices.

ALSO READ: Anti-smoking Bill passed in Dewan Rakyat

“They are all different and cannot be regulated in the same way,” he said in a Facebook video on Friday (Dec 8).

He also highlighted the need to ensure vape products were actually safe for consumption.

“A suitable mechanism has to be set in place. The Bill must list how much nicotine can actually be put into the liquids.

“Nicotine tests for vapes are also different when compared to those for cigarettes,” he said.

The Ayer Hitam MP also questioned whether or not the health warnings and graphic images plastered on cigarette packaging should be used on vape packaging as well.

“Is this compulsory ... for vape products? What if there are different health warnings for cigarettes and vape products?

“Does this mean each has varying levels of harm?” he asked.

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Dr Wee said the Bill also had to look at the strength of nicotine in vape products.

“What are the international standards and which should we follow? What is considered ‘optimum’ so vape users don’t overdose on nicotine?

“We should also look at how other countries limit vape flavours so it does not attract youths to try them,” he said.

Another aspect Dr Wee raised was the issue of the minimum price of tobacco products, and whether or not their sale would be restricted.

Citing the example of cigarettes, Dr Wee said there was a minimum price imposed to ensure they were not too cheap and therefore easily accessible by youths.

He said there should also be measures to ensure vape products were not sold in the vicinity of schools.

Dr Wee also congratulated Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa for her efforts with getting the Bill tabled and passed.

“Not many gave her credit, but she was at least successful in doing something to regulate tobacco products.

“At least now, we have a legal platform to regulate it,” Dr Wee said.

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