Zaliha ‘Concerned’ About Sale And Advertising Of Vape To Kids

Dr Zaliha Mustafa tells various authorities to curb the sale of vape products to children, but did not specify if she would table the tobacco bill for a vote in the upcoming Parliament meeting. Vape – including for adults – is currently unregulated.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 – Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa today expressed concern about the sale and advertising of vape products to children, even as the vape industry remains unregulated.

She noted that the sale of nicotine is regulated under the Poisons Act 1952 that requires registration and approval of pharmaceutical products containing nicotine from the Drug Control Authority.

Vape liquids containing nicotine, including up to 5 per cent nicotine content, are sold widely throughout the country. Other vape products contain no nicotine.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) is concerned and expresses regret about the sale of electronic cigarettes or vape products in front of a school that went viral recently,” Dr Zaliha said in a statement.

“MOH has also received information that activities of promotion, advertising, and sale of electronic cigarettes or vape that resemble children’s toys, or “Tiger Pod”, are increasingly rampant.”

The health minister said vape regulations have been included in the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022.

“This bill was tabled for second reading in the August 2022 Parliament meeting; its implementation is still delayed till now.”

Then-Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government failed to re-table the revised tobacco bill last October for a vote in the Dewan Rakyat before the 14th Parliament was dissolved, amid widespread public opposition towards the proposed generational tobacco ban, or “generational end game (GEG)”, in the bill.

The bill had been revised by a bipartisan parliamentary special select committee chaired by then-Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Dr Zaliha’s statement today called on cooperation from other ministries and agencies like the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry, local councils, and other enforcement agencies to curb the sale of vape products that can harm young people.

However, she did not specify whether she would push the tobacco bill to a vote and passage in the upcoming Parliament meeting next month. 

Some MPs who were particularly vocal against the tobacco GEG are now in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet, such as Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing who is the tourism, arts and culture minister.

“I wish to stress that vape businesses should act with utmost responsibility in the production of their products,” Dr Zaliha added, even though vape is currently completely unregulated in Malaysia.

The most contentious clauses in the tobacco bill relate to prohibitions of the sale to, and possession, purchase, and use of tobacco and vape products by anyone born from 2007.

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