On 27 July, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tabled the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022, also known as the tobacco generational endgame law, for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat.
According to Malaysiakini, the proposed Bill states that children born in 2007 and the subsequent years will be prohibited from smoking, buying or possessing any type of smoking products.
It is said that the ban includes using, buying or owning any electronic cigarettes or vape products even after the children reach the age of 18. If they are found breaking the law, they can be fined up to RM5,000.
“Any person who contravenes subsection (3) commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000,” the Bill reads.
Apart from consumers, the Bill also places great emphasis on retailers and manufacturers of tobacco products.
The proposed bill stated that premise owners now have a duty to display no-smoking signs and are prohibited from providing “smoking equipment, facilities or any method intended to encourage any person to smoke”.
It is also said that any person or organisation who imports, manufactures and distributes tobacco products, smoking material and tobacco substitute products without a license will be penalised.
Any advertisement of tobacco products, relevant products or any materials that induce, suggest or encourage the use of tobacco is also criminalised.
Meanwhile, individual offenders can face up to a maximum 1-year jail sentence or a maximum fine of RM20,000 or both, while repeat offenders face a maximum 2-year jail sentence or a maximum fine of RM30,000 or both.
As for corporate organisations, they can face up to 2 years in jail or be fined between RM20,000 and RM100,000, or both, and repeat offenders will face imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine between RM50,000 and RM300,000, or both.
Meanwhile, according to Malay Mail, the proposed bill gives the Health director-general full power in the approval and cancellation of tobacco or substitute tobacco products.
If this Bill was passed, distributors of these products would have to register themselves under this Act through the DG’s office.
In addition, the DG has the right to right to cancel any approval of registration made for tobacco or substitute tobacco products should the applicant break any provisions of the Act, breach any conditions of the registration or has been convicted of any offence under this Act.
As for the health minister, he may gazette any area, building or vehicle that the public has access to as a non-smoking area.
Khairy said the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill aims to make Malaysia a tobacco-free country by 2040. However, the bill has met with strong resistance from several MPs, who cited issues such as the illicit market and enforcement.
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