KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 – In a rare show of unity, health non-profits and vape companies today issued a joint call to the government to expedite the tabling of a tobacco and vape control bill.
They also stressed that the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 must retain provisions for the generational end game (GEG) that prohibits tobacco and vape products for anyone born from 2007.
“The issue of the use of electronic cigarettes or vape has been increasingly debated ever since nicotine in vape liquids was exempted from the Poisons Act 1952.
“The situation of widespread sales, as well as advertising and promotion to attract consumers, is increasingly difficult to curb,” said the joint statement.
The joint statement was signed by the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), the Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Pemadam), the Parents’ Association to Curb Cigarettes and Vape (Pavac), as well as the Malay Vape Businesses’ Association (PPVM), the Malaysia Vape Liquid Manufacturers’ Association (MEBA), and the Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association (Mevta).
These groups had attended a recent joint meeting with Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni.
NCSM, Pemadam, and Pavac pointed out that the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Adolescent Health Survey showed an increase in vaping among teenagers from 9.8 per cent in 2017 to 14.9 per cent in 2022.
“If this is not controlled, we will not only have to bear the cost of treating smoking and vape-related diseases , but we will also lose the young generations that will drive the country’s development.”
MEBA said e-cigarette and vape products “may” cause harm to public health, especially to young people, if these were not regulated well.
“We will follow the regulations set by the government in the upcoming bill related to the control of smoking products. As long as this bill is not tabled and approved, the local industry may be affected,” MEBA said in the joint statement.
Mevta acknowledged that the lack of regulations for e-cigarettes and vape opened the potential for abuse and sale of such products to children.
“We also support the generational end game provision that is a part of the bill. We look at the generational end game provision from a positive view that takes into account the safety and health of future generations in the effort to curb smoking.”
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said recently that the tobacco and vape control bill would be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in June, instead of later this month as she previously promised. The upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting, which is scheduled to start on May 22, is only 11-days long: four days this month and seven in June.
A recent CodeBlue poll run among 31 MPs from both sides of the divide revealed split support for the tobacco and vape bill – not along party lines, but personal inclinations.