KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry is ready to table the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill, which includes the Generational End Game (GEG) policy, during the new meeting of Parliament which began today.
The health minister’s special adviser, Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, said the bill is of paramount importance to protect the health of the younger generation.
It comprises two main aspects – the control of smoking products including vape and e-cigarettes, and the implementation of the GEG policy.
“The GEG policy is only for the ban on buying and using, as the ban on keeping and possessing cigarettes or vaping products has been dropped (from the bill) on the recommendation of the parliamentary select committee.
“The ban will apply to all those born from 2007 onwards,” he told Bernama.
Helmy said the bill will include control over registration, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, packaging, and sales of smoking products.
“Any violation, including selling cigarettes to those in the GEG group, will be an offence when the bill is passed,” he said.
Helmy, who is also a respiratory consultant at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, said the parliamentary select committee had also agreed to several amendments relating to the ban on those born from 2007 onwards.
“Among their recommendations is the reduction of the fine from RM5,000 to RM500 to avoid burdening the GEG group.
“Apart from that, the community service order for the smoking offence committed by the GEG is being introduced and will be enforced when the law is enacted. This order is meant to educate and show that the policy is not purely punitive,” he said.
Helmy also said the issue of body checks by health ministry enforcement officers on the GEG group has now been resolved by removing the ban on the possession of smoking products.
According to him, there is also a clause stating that a periodic report needs to be prepared and tabled in Parliament before January 2025 and every five years, subsequently.
“The report will be about the effectiveness of the ban on the sale of tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitute products or smoking devices, and related matters,” he said.
He also expressed hope that after taking into account the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee, the bill will receive support from all MPs to help make Malaysia a smoking-free nation one day.
“As a respiratory consultant, I have seen many patients suffering from the effects of smoking and vaping.
“We all know the complications of diseases caused by smoking, such as chronic obstructive airway disease, or COAD, which causes patients to have difficulty breathing due to damaged lungs.
“A new complication caused by vaping has also been detected, which is electronic vape associated lung injury, or Evali,” he said.
He said the health ministry has been notified of more than 30 cases of Evali so far, with the condition also affecting the wives and children of the vape smokers.