KUALA LUMPUR: A tobacco industry player has slammed the tobacco generational endgame (GEG) law, saying it is “pointless” when the government has failed to effectively enforce the existing law preventing teenagers from smoking.
JT International Bhd general manager Khoo Bee Leng said the government’s proposed Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which is aimed at banning those born in 2007 onwards from buying and smoking cigarette and vape products, will not meet its objective.
“This bill will not meet its objective. Instead, it’s going to keep pushing consumers to the black market,” Khoo said at a media briefing on the “Illicit Cigarettes Incidence” today.
“The tobacco industry is not the right market to start with this regulation unless enforcement can be guaranteed.
“Just look at how many teenagers smoke today because the law failed to be enforced. There’s no point coming out with the new law if you cannot enforce the existing law.”
Khoo said her company, which is part of Japan Tobacco International, did not support the bill as it was “discriminating” in nature since those born in 2006 and before could still buy the tobacco products.
She said the law would open the door to illicit cigarettes which was already an issue in the country.
On top of that, she feared that the regulation would set a precedent for a new product category.
“What’s next? Is it going to be the alcohol and gambling category?
“Diabetes is also a huge problem in the country, so are we going to start banning sugar?” she said.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin tabled the bill for its first reading yesterday, with the second reading due to take place today.
If passed, those born in 2007 onwards will not be allowed to own and smoke tobacco and vape products.