27 January 2022
Source: Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: The government plans to outlaw smoking for the next generation by prohibiting the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to people born after 2005.
Speaking at the 150th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board meeting in Geneva yesterday, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the country hopes to pass legislation this year which would bring about a “generation endgame to smoking”.
“This is by making it illegal for the sale of tobacco and other smoking products to anyone born after 2005,” he said.
“Malaysia feels that it will have a significant impact on preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he added.
Khairy also talked about a “generational endgame” in his 2022 New Year message to the health ministry, stating that there will come a time when the next generation “will no longer know what a cigarette is”.
According to Malaysia’s 2020 report to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, one in five (21.3%) people aged 15 years and older in the country are smokers.
Khairy’s announcement comes a week after he said the government plans to table a Tobacco and Smoking Control Act in the next session of the Dewan Rakyat.
Tobacco products are currently covered under the Food Act 1983, and Khairy said the new law would regulate e-cigarettes and vape products and eventually phase out smoking.
The health ministry estimates that there are 27,000 tobacco-related deaths annually in the country due to illnesses like heart disease, cancer and stroke.
About 15% of the 27,000 tobacco-related deaths were also found to be non-smokers who died from exposure to second-hand smoke.