Dr Zaliha assures introduction of overdue anti-smoking, vape control bill before Nov 30

HEALTH Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has given her assurance that the ministry will table the long-delayed anti-smoking and vape control bill before the current Parliament session concludes on Nov 30 following criticism from former health minister Khairy Jamaludin.

“The bill will be tabled before the end of this (parliamentary) session. We will get it done,” Malaysiakini quoted her as saying.

Khairy, the original author of the bill, said several ministers had blocked the bill, adding that the cabinet’s handling of the matter was “absolutely shambolic”.

The bill, known as the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, was supposed to have been tabled for a second reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 10.

One aspect of the bill is to reintroduce controls over nicotine products including vapes – after the government removed the substance from the Poisons Act in March.

The bill also introduces measures meant to prevent anyone born from 2007 onwards from buying tobacco or nicotine products, giving the bill its generational end game (GEG) moniker.

On Nov 6, the Cabinet noted it had opted to remove clauses related to the GEG ban on tobacco and vaping from the 2023 Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill.

Attorney-General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh deems the proposed age-based prohibition, aiming to restrict tobacco and vaping for those born after January 1, 2007, unconstitutional.

The bill faced opposition from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), citing a violation of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, guaranteeing equality before the law.

Sources reveal that if the government insists on the ban, constitutional amendments may be necessary. – Nov 19, 2023


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