PETALING JAYA: A public health expert says that the Dewan Rakyat’s passage of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill today marks a significant step in addressing the nicotine gap, particularly for vaping products.
“The nicotine vape gap will finally be on its way to being plugged,” Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Khalib said.
However, Azrul said there is a significant challenge in addressing the prevalent harm among children and minors due to vaping, despite the passing of the bill.
“Like Pandora’s box, it will take time to close,” he said in a statement.
The bill seeks to ban the sale and purchase of tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitute products, or the provision of any service for smoking to minors.
Azrul said despite the bill’s shortcomings, it signals the end of a long effort to establish standalone legislation in Malaysia for tobacco and nicotine, including vaping products and e-cigarettes.
Previously, Azrul had slammed the government for its failure to prioritise the health threat of vape and electronic cigarette products.
He said the health ministry opened a “Pandora’s box” by removing liquid and gel nicotine from the Poisons List, allowing the product to be available over the counter for use in e-cigarettes.
The Dewan Rakyat passed the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill with a majority voice vote today.
It was passed following a tense debate involving 27 MPs from both sides, who expressed disappointment with the removal of the generational endgame (GEG) provisions from the bill.
The GEG component would have prohibited the sale of tobacco and vape products to those born after 2007.