PUTRAJAYA, April 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) will hold discussions with the Customs Department and the Finance Ministry to review a 15 per cent levy on nicotine chewing gum, a medical product used to help smokers quit.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said he received complaints from nicotine gum importers who requested for the product to be exempted from the excise duty.
“I will raise this issue with Customs and the Treasury because we believe the duty on nicotine gum needs to be either lowered or exempted, because this (product) is a good thing. This is something for us to help smokers quit,” Khairy told a press conference today after launching a mosque quit-smoking programme at Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque here.
According to the Customs Duties Order 2022 – which comes into operation on June 1 – that has been gazetted by the finance minister, nicotine chewing gums are subjected to a 15 per cent import duty per kg, though none was imposed on nicotine patch, another product used to help smokers quit.
The nicotine gum and patch were placed in the tobacco and nicotine chapter together with cigarettes, tobacco, heated tobacco, and e-cigarettes, instead of the chapter on pharmaceutical products which are not subjected to any import or export duties.
Khairy is planning to table a Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill in Parliament this July that contains, among others, a proposal to prohibit cigarettes and vaping products for anyone born from January 1, 2005, touted as the “generation end game to smoking”.