Home Consumer resources The government must reach a broader understanding before implementing a generational endgame to ban tobacco and smoking products

The government must reach a broader understanding before implementing a generational endgame to ban tobacco and smoking products

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The Harm Awareness Association said the vision behind the Tobacco and Tobacco Control Bill ignores the fact that different reduced-risk products do not all have the same impact and risks as conventional products. – Photo of the Malaysian courier

KUALA LUMPUR (July 23): A consumer group today described the decision by the Ministry of Health to ban the sale of tobacco and smoking products to people born from 2005 onwards, in a so-called end-of-year decision. generational part (GEG), as a mistake and an oversimplified approach.

In a statement today, the Harm Awareness Association (HAA) said the vision behind the Tobacco and Tobacco Control Bill ignores the fact that different reduced-risk products do not all have the same impact. and the same risks as conventional products.

HAA said the inability to distinguish between products will also hurt the ministry’s plans to reduce illegal cigarettes, as demand for illicit black market products will increase, including other tobacco and vaping products among people looking to get their nicotine patches.

“Representing the voice of consumers in Malaysia, the Harm Awareness Association is of the view that the principle of implementing the GEG is wrong and that it is a simplistic approach by bundling cigarettes, vapes and d other tobacco products in a single category.

“It is known that smoking prevalence in Malaysia continues to remain high at 21.3% as reported in the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019. Indeed, there is a lack of enforcement and resources to stifling the illicit cigarette market and a lack of measures that effectively address demand and supply gaps as well as a lack of recognition of other less harmful alternatives that can reduce smoking prevalence despite the large cohort of over one million vaping users,” said Aziaan Ariffin, President of the HAA.

He added that introducing a new policy to ban all tobacco and vaping products would also overwhelm enforcement agencies who are already concerned about a still-thriving black market.

He said these existing problems need to be addressed before new policies are introduced.

“If Malaysia proceeds with GEG and fails to distinguish between combustible cigarettes and other less harmful non-combustible products, it will lead to several unintended beneficiaries, including costing the government billions of dollars more every year in taxes evaded due to the growth of the huge illicit market, and there will be more illicit alternative products such as unregulated vape juice, liquid nicotine and contraband devices, which do not follow good manufacturing practices added Aziaan.

He warned that illicit and contraband e-cigarette liquids and devices could also have greater health consequences for users who are willing to risk their safety for cheaper options, if the bill passes.

“Implementing a blind policy that treats cigarettes, vape and other tobacco products equally also means that the Malaysian government is ignoring the rights of consumers to make informed decisions about their consumption of less risky products. “, did he declare.

He said Putrajaya must also consider the huge implications of the planned ban, which goes beyond the number of illicit cigarettes sold.

“The proceeds of these illegal cigarettes have been reported to fuel organized crime, nefarious activities as well as international smuggling and the black market of other goods,” he added.

Aziaan proposed four measures to the government on the bill and the GEG, firstly, calling for a detailed study to develop a proper roadmap towards the ban.

He said New Zealand had conducted a similar phased study to reach out to industry and public opinion and that this could be done through government-to-government collaboration for knowledge exchange and opportunities.

“Exhaust all tobacco control measures, including the establishment of an effective, multi-agency current tobacco law enforcement team to combat black markets” Consult with other relevant government agencies such as Miti EPU , MoF, KPDNHEP and others the impact and potential social and economic consequences of the GEG. To carry out a proper and independent review of all scientific studies and research on alternatives to smoking as a complementary measure to reduce the prevalence of smoking towards achieving the vision of the GEG,” he said in his list of suggestions. .

Miti refers to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, EPU refers to the Economic Planning Unit, MoF refers to the Ministry of Finance, and KPDNHEP refers to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Last week, the New Straits Times (NST) reported that Health Minister Khairy said the bill had been approved by Cabinet on July 13.

He reportedly said the bill would be tabled at the current parliamentary meeting.

The proposed bill essentially prevents people born on January 1, 2005 and beyond from buying tobacco and tobacco-related products, even when they reach 18 or the current legal drinking age. . – Malaysian Mail