New bill for control, enforcement of all tobacco-related products by year-end

Health groups have called for legislation to govern all forms of tobacco-related products and heat-not-burn items. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: A new bill to control all tobacco-related products and e-cigarettes and to enforce the no-smoking zone ruling is expected to be introduced by the end of this year, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

He said the Tobacco Control Bill is being being drafted by his ministry.

“The law will include everything related to e-cigarettes, vaping, the supply chain and the dos and don’ts.

“It will also include the forms of penalties that will be enforced under the proposed Act,” he said after officiating the World Health Day 2019 celebrations here.

Recently, a former health ministry official, Dr Zarihah Zain, called on Putrajaya to come up with an umbrella law for all tobacco and tobacco-related products to plug loopholes in existing regulations.

Zarihah, now the medical director of the Malaysian Women’s Action for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWATCH), said tobacco companies would generally find ways to circumvent the laws.

This comes after concerns raised by health groups that heat-not-burn (HNB) smoking products and mini-cigars were being exempt from regulations governing cigarettes as they were not defined as cigarettes.

The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control has also urged Putrajaya to ban HNB products, saying they might be more accessible and attractive to youth because of the cheaper prices of refills, smaller packaging and being less detectable as they produced less smoke.