THE Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) has urged the Government to re-consider its decision to table the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 which includes a Generation End Game policy (GEG) in the current Parliament session as further scrutinisation needs to be conducted on this matter that involves consumer preferences.
Malaysian CCC representative Tarmizi Anuwar said it is time for the government to stop dictating to consumers what can be done and what cannot be done.
“All consumers have a fundamental interest in defending personal and civic freedom. Therefore, they should be given a personal choice to decide what works for them without excessive intervention,” he pointed out in a media statement.
“In addition, what consumers need are smart regulations that can protect them rather than restrict them because problems like smoking and vaping are multi-faceted.”
Tarmizi further stressed the need for the unity government to educate consumers with factual and accurate information rather than spreading myths or false information on topics like vaping being supposedly more dangerous than cigarettes.
“Many internationally-recognised scientific studies have concluded that switching completely to vaping provides important health benefits instead of continuing to smoke,” he asserted.
In September 2022, the latest research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London found that the use of vaping products instead of smoking leads to a significant reduction in exposure to toxins that promote cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, Tarmizi also called on the government to focus on consumer safety as the illegal cigarette incidence in Malaysia is high at 56.6% according to the recent Illegal Cigarette Study by Nielsen IQ.
“This is a worrying trend as illegal products contain harmful substances that are unsuitable for human consumption. In addition, these illegal cigarettes are easily accessible to teenagers as they are sold in mom-and-pop shops or online,” he observed.
“Therefore, the Government should prioritise on combatting this problem rather than approving a bill that may lead to a hike in illegal products. Minors should not be allowed to vape or smoke.”
Added Tarmizi: “In order to avoid or reduce the risk of this happening, the government needs to ensure age verifications at point of sale are enforced to prevent minors from purchasing the products.” – May 30, 2023