PETALING JAYA: A consumer group has called for Putrajaya not to delay the tabling and passing of the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) made the call after news portal CodeBlue reported that the tobacco bill, which includes the Generational End Game (GEG) provisions, had received Cabinet approval for tabling next month.
It said if the report was accurate, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim would have fulfilled his promise in tabling the bill in the next Dewan Rakyat session.
However, CAP education officer NV Subbarow expressed concern about speculation that the bill would be referred to a special select committee for further inspection.
“If this is the case, then this bill will not be approved at the Dewan Rakyat session in May or June. What else is there to discuss?
“Wasn’t it discussed at length by (the members) of the last special select committee?” he said in a statement.
Subbarow stressed the urgency in passing the bill, citing the latest findings of the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2022, stating that the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping among teenagers in the country had increased from 9.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2022 and saw a 9% increase in smokers.
“Do we continue to turn a blind eye as children as young as eight and high school students become addicted to vaping, threatening their health and future?”
On Monday, the health ministry said it was ready to table the tobacco bill during the current Dewan Rakyat session.
The health minister’s special adviser, Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, said the bill is paramount to protecting the health of the younger generation.
It comprises two main aspects – controlling smoking products, including vape and e-cigarettes, and implementing the GEG policy.
Helmy said the GEG policy is only for the ban on buying and using. The ban will apply to all those born from 2007 onwards.