KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 – The new Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 slashes the fine for lighting up in gazetted smoke-free places to a maximum RM5,000 if convicted; no imprisonment is proposed for the offence.
Under the current Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 under the Food Act 1983 – which will be replaced by this standalone tobacco and vape control Act if it is passed into law – smoking in non-smoking zones is punishable with a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or jail not exceeding two years.
Section 18(1) of the new Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, which was tabled for first reading in Parliament today, requires premise owners in smoke-free zones to display a no-smoking sign according to a set format; avoid providing facilities for patrons to smoke; and to take all reasonable steps, as determined by the Health director-general, to stop patrons from smoking in gazetted no-smoking areas.
Violations are punishable with a maximum RM5,000 fine if convicted; no jail sentence is provided for.
Under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 under the Food Act, premise proprietors face a maximum RM3,000 fine or jail not exceeding six months if convicted of the offence of not displaying a no-smoking sign.
The offence of not ensuring that people do not smoke in smoke-free zones is punishable with a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, under that 2004 regulation.
The maximum RM5,000 fine under the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill tabled today for smoking in smoke-free zones is the same quantum as that provided for in the earlier version of the bill tabled last June that has since been retracted.
If Parliament passes this bill, this means proprietors of premises gazetted as smoke-free zones will have to produce new no-smoking signs, as many of the existing ones still state the punishments of a maximum RM10,000 fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years.
The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill tabled today also omitted the generational end game (GEG) proposal to ban tobacco and vape products for anyone born from 2007, restricting smoking prohibitions to minors aged below 18 instead.
Shockingly, the tobacco and vape control bill also completely dropped provisions related to e-cigarette and vape devices, or “smoking devices”, although “smoking substance” provisions were retained.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told the House earlier today that the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill will be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow for second reading, one day before the scheduled end of the current meeting on Thursday.
Dr Zaliha, in a post on X, did not state that the GEG ban and control over vape devices have been dropped from the bill, simply describing the proposed legislation as a “comprehensive” bill needed to control vaping and to close the lacuna in the law that allows the legal sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine to children.