Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): The Dewan Rakyat approved the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 Bill through a voice vote on Thursday.

The Bill, tabled by Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa in the lower house on Wednesday, seeks to, among other things, prohibit the sale of any tobacco, smoking substance, or substitute tobacco products, as well as the provision of any services for smoking, to individuals under the age of 18.

One notable revision in the Bill is the absence of the generational endgame component, which aimed to prohibit individuals born from 2007 onwards from smoking or purchasing smoking products. This led Members of Parliament from both sides to criticise the government, questioning whether it had succumbed to lobbyists from "Big Tobacco" and the vape industry.

The bill was passed after two days of debate involving 27 MPs.

During her concluding speech, Zaliha highlighted that an estimated RM8.77 billion would need to be spent in 2030 to treat non-communicable diseases caused by smoking complications, such as chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and heart disease, which is significantly higher than the RM3 billion revenue generated from tobacco sales.

"According to research, electronic vape associated lung injury (Evali) treatment is estimated to cost up to RM150,000 for one patient, and the cost of Evali treatment is expected to increase to RM369 million annually by 2030. At the same time, the government can only generate RM500 million per year from the taxation of vape products," Zaliha said.

Therefore, Zaliha stressed the importance of the Dewan Rakyat approving the Bill to speed up regulation on tobacco, smoking substances, and substitute tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

Following the approval of the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 Bill, the lower house also approved the Food (Amendment) Bill 2023 to ensure no contradictions and overlaps between the two bills.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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