Health Ministry to table Control of Smoking Product for Public Heath Bill on June 12

06 Jun 2023 10:28pm
Image for illustrative purposes only – FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only – FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The Control of Smoking Product for Public Heath Bill 2023 will be tabled for first reading in Parliament on June 12, said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

"Alhamdulillah, we have completed our engagement sessions with various parties and gathered much input. I would like to reiterate that our decision to table this Bill is following the decision made by the Cabinet,” she said at a media briefing on the Bill today.

She also said the Health Ministry (MOH) had incorporated all 23 proposed amendments and added five new suggestions to the Bill.

Dr Zaliha said the ministry also took into consideration the views received during the debate sessions and also from the special select committee at the last Parliament session.

"This Bill is more comprehensive as it covers not only conventional smoking products but also new ones, including electronic and combustible ones.

Elaborating, she said the Bill still retains the generational end game (GEG) provision, affecting those born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards.

"The GEG provision will curb the problem of smoking, especially among the youth, which is the main contributor to the country’s economy, and save 2.07 million lives,” she said.

According to Dr Zaliha, the new Bill with the concept of Win-Win Solution: Navigating Differences through Collaborative Compromise is based on the findings of recent studies that will be tabled in a periodic report before Jan 1, 2025.

"This approach shows that the government is committed to implementing the GEG, which also receives the support of many, including non-governmental organisations, professional bodies and associations,” she said.

Regarding the lacuna in the Poisons Act 1952 following the exemption of liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes from the law, Dr Zaliha said this can be addressed through controls in terms of advertisement, packaging, sales in educational institutions and so on.

She added that all the issues debated during the tabling of the previous Bill, including judicial review, body inspection and extensive enforcement authority, have been amended as recommended by the Special Select Committee on the Tobacco and Smoking Products Control Bill 2022.

Regarding the proposed fine reduction from RM5,000 to RM500, Dr Zaliha said it was intended not to be burdensome but to educate.

She also said that without the GEG provision, the cost to treat smoking-related diseases will escalate to RM8.77 billion, and RM369 million will be needed to treat complications from the use of electronic cigarettes by the year 2030. - BERNAMA