The Malaysian government plans to impose a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to people born after 2005, according to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Speaking at the 150th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (26 January), Khairy said the country hopes to pass legislation this year that 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,”
“Malaysia feels that it will have a significant impact on preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he said, adding that Malaysia welcomed the Implementation Road Map as it would provide important guidance on the country’s respective programmes in achieving NCD-related goals.
“One of the key lessons learnt in managing the Covid-19 pandemic is the effectiveness of a whole-of-nation approach.”
“Similarly, in preventing and controlling NCDs, we need an all-encompassing approach at the national and sub-national levels with multi-stakeholder collaboration involving the government, civil society, private sector and local communities,” he added.
According to Malaysia’s 2020 report to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, about 1 in 5 (21.3%) people aged 15 years and older in the country are smokers.
About 2 weeks ago, Khairy indicated that his ministry will be introducing a new tobacco and smoking control bill in the upcoming parliamentary session to replace the current tobacco product control legislation under the Food Act 1983.
Tobacco products are currently covered under the Food Act 1983, and Khairy said the new law will regulate e-cigarettes and vape products and eventually phase out smoking.
The health ministry estimates that there are about 27,000 deaths due to the use of tobacco products annually in the country due to illnesses like heart disease, cancer and stroke.
It also estimates 15% of the 27,000 tobacco-related deaths were found to be non-smokers who died from exposure to second-hand smoke.
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