KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 – Khairy Jamaluddin explained that the Health Ministry’s proposal to ban tobacco and vape for anyone born after 2005 is aimed at protecting the health of future generations, not to threaten them.
The health minister said the proposed legislation — which prohibits the sale of cigarettes, vape, electronic cigarettes, cigars, shisha, and other smoking products for anyone born from January 1, 2005 — will be tabled in the upcoming Parliament meeting.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also plans to table the new Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill in the Dewan Rakyat special select committee on health, science and innovation that is chaired by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
Khairy told Gopeng MP Dr Lee Boon Chye and Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing in a written parliamentary reply today that MOH’s proposed cohort smoking ban will only affect those who turn 18 next year, the current legal age for smoking.
“Therefore, those who are still under the age of 18 years are currently subject to prohibitions on [tobacco] possession, sale, and acts of smoking. Thus, there is no issue of ‘threats’ in this issue.”
Khairy said the percentage of smoking among youths did not show a significant decline. On the contrary, he said there has been an increase in the use of next generation smoking products such as electronic cigarettes or vape, which are more appealing to users.
Given this context, the government has decided not only to tighten controls on all smoking products, including vape, but to implement a generation ban on children born from January 1, 2005, to ensure that future generations can live healthily.
“The MOH has thoroughly looked into and conducted research on this matter. The results show that through continuing education at the school level, strict control, and the banning of smoking products, including electronic cigarettes and vape, on the generation born from January 1, 2005, will provide cost savings to the national economy and produce more productive people,” Khairy said.
The MOH has partnered with several other ministries and government agencies to educate children as young as age six on the dangers of cigarette smoking, Khairy said.
This includes the Oral Health Without Cigarette Smoking (KOTAK) programme that screens and offers interventions for smoking cessation and treatment for primary and secondary school children. University-level mQuit services are provided at the tertiary education stage.