Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) notes the announcement of the Health Ministry to exempt nicotine liquids and gels from the Poisons Act 1952 (as announced on 31 March 2023).
We also note that this precedes any clear legislation and/or restrictions on the sale and consumption of e-cigarettes and vaping devices, including to youths and children. We also note that the independent Poisons Board was opposed to this declassification.
We understand that collection of taxes for nicotine liquids and gels used in e-cigarettes and vaping devices is now made possible from 2023, as these substances have been declassified as a poison.
We would like to remind the health care decision makers in Malaysia regarding the cost of nicotine addiction on the individual and the nation. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances available for recreational consumption.
The associated health care burden due to cigarette consumption on individual health is significant including increasing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other illnesses.
The strain upon the nation’s budget and resources is considerable to treat these diseases. The health care impact of vaping is beginning to become known but should not be trivialised especially as it tends to involve the younger more vulnerable segment of our society.
LCNM is deeply concerned about the long-term public health hazards of vaping and tobacco use on current and future generations of Malaysians, especially in children and teenagers.
In fact, the previous classification of nicotine as a Group C poison — which required a licensed pharmacist or a registered medical, dental or veterinary practitioner to sell any form of preparation containing nicotine, with the exception of tobacco products or nicotine patches/gum for smoking cessation — we feel aptly reflects the dangers of this substance.
The public is owed a detailed explanation as to why there has been a complete U-turn on this classification.
We are however encouraged that the proposed new legislation – Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 – is being tabled next month (May 2023).
LCNM implores our government to consider carefully all the potential health care risks with any decision that they make. In particular, it is imperative that there is robust and clear legislation in place to govern the sale and use of such products to protect our children, youth and other vulnerable communities.
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