THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has called for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to “flip flop” to immediately re-list nicotine under the Poisons Act for the sake of the people’s health.
This is after the Prime Minister said in Parliament earlier today that he will “flip flop” on decisions if it benefits the people.
“If the Health Ministry was truly committed to passage of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, it would not have removed nicotine from the Poisons Act before the tabling of the Bill,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai.
“We heard yesterday (June 12) from the Health Ministry how dangerous nicotine exposure is to health.
“In the Parliament’s Special Chambers yesterday, the Health Minister revealed that a 16-year-old girl with a three-year vaping history had died from acute heart failure in a probable E-cigarette or Vaping product use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) case.”
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa further revealed that a two-year-old girl, suspected to have ingested liquid nicotine either via inhalation or swallowing of the vape liquid from a disposable vape device, had suffered seizures at the paediatric intensive care unit of Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital in Temerloh, Pahang.
It was reported that the toddler suffered neurological problems with disturbed motor and speech functions.
“Despite all this data and the fact that the e-cigarette and vape industry remains unregulated, the Health Ministry went ahead with removing nicotine from the Poisons Act,” Dr Muruga pointed out.
“The Health Minister had admitted that the move to exempt nicotine from the Poisons Act on March 31 was to enable collection of excise taxes on nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vaping devices. It is disappointing indeed that tax collection took precedence over public health concerns.”
MMA further stated that it is disturbing to hear of rumours that the Bill is being deliberately stalled over fears the ruling coalition may lose support particularly among young voters in the upcoming state election in six states.
According to Dr Muruga, the public is also theorising on social media that the tobacco and vape industry could be pressuring the government to give in to their demands concerning the Bill.
“We believe there is no truth to these claims however, the government must do more to prove it is prioritising the health of all Malaysians by giving urgency to the tabling of the Bill for passage in Parliament in the current session,” he stressed.
“Any further delays will be seen by the people as a lack of concern from the government over serious issues affecting public health.” – June 13, 2023
Main pic credit: The Star