Tanjong Karang MP Files Motion To Debate Toddler’s Nicotine Poisoning

Tanjong Karang MP Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi submits a motion to the Speaker to debate the nicotine poisoning case of a toddler from vape, saying MOH’s delisting of liquid nicotine can cause public misperceptions that nicotine is safe, leading to careless use.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 – Tanjong Karang MP Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi has filed a motion to the Speaker’s Office to debate a recent case of a two-year-old girl’s nicotine poisoning.

The Opposition lawmaker from Perikatan Nasional (PN) – who submitted the motion to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Johari Abdul yesterday that was received on the same day – filed the motion under Clauses 18(1) and (2) of the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders that allows parliamentarians to ask leave to discuss a matter that is “definite, urgent, and of public importance”.

“This motion is a definite matter related to nicotine that can now be freely used by the people, including children, following the exemption of nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952 under the health minister’s own authority,” Dr Zulkafperi said in the motion, as sighted by CodeBlue.

“This motion is urgent, as nicotine is already in the legal market and there are no legislations regulating its use.

“This motion also involves public importance as it [nicotine] can be misused by anyone, including babies, children, school children, women, or pregnant women. Society or people out there will believe that nicotine is safe and open, that it doesn’t need to be feared, and that it is not dangerous at all.

“It is such misperceptions – caused by the MOH’s (Ministry of Health) removal of [liquid nicotine] from the Poisons Act 1952 – that leads to the carelessness of its use by the general public. This can lead to more cases of [nicotine] poisoning or Evali (E-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury) among children or even older adults.

“Perhaps this case of the two-year-old child is only the beginning and the tip of the iceberg, with the Madani rakyat possibly suffering even worse cases in future. Who will be blamed or should take full responsibility for this nicotine disaster?” added the Bersatu lawmaker.

The MOH reported last Monday a case of suspected nicotine poisoning in a two-year-old girl living in Bera, Pahang, who was believed to have ingested liquid nicotine from a disposable vape. The toddler, who needed breathing assistance, was admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) and suffered from seizures; she is currently in stable condition.

In an email yesterday evening, as sighted by CodeBlue, Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin requested that Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa provide a response by 3pm today on whether the motion filed by Dr Zulkafperi is a definite and urgent matter of public importance.

MOH’s Parliament unit subsequently forwarded the request to several MOH officials, including Health director-general Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, MOH deputy director-general (public health) Dr Norhayati Rusli, and MOH deputy director-general (medical) Dr Asmayani Khalib.

Dr Zaliha gazetted an order last March 31 to remove liquid and gel nicotine from the Poisons List – overriding unanimous objection from the Poisons Board – to enable the taxation of vape and e-cigarette liquids with nicotine.

She has promised to table the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 in Parliament next Monday for first reading, three days before the scheduled end of the current Dewan Rakyat meeting next Thursday.

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