Malaysia’s health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, announced the plan at the 150th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board meeting in Geneva earlier this month. He said that the hope is that the legislation is finalized this year and that it 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,” said Jamaluddin, “Malaysia feels that it will have a significant impact on preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he added.
The health minister stated that there will come a time when the next generation “will no longer know what a cigarette is”. Meanwhile, a local medical practitioner with experience in addiction therapy in Malaysia, recently highlighted that tobacco harm reduction (THR) approaches would help reverse the problem caused by smoking across the country.
“Tobacco harm reduction (THR) can be particularly beneficial, as it would allow smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives in their journey to quit completely,” said Dr Arifin Fi. “Official statistics indicate there is little evidence showing that existing tobacco control strategies are working, as most smokers have a low desire to quit.”
Harm reduction strategies are more effective than bans
Following his attendance at the recent virtual Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (GTNF) 2021, he insisted that Malaysia needs to look for innovative solutions to manage the local high smoking rates. “This is where tobacco harm reduction (THR) can be particularly beneficial, as it would allow smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives in their journey to quit completely,” he said.
A recent survey has indicated that 80% of Malaysians, are in favour of having the local vape industry regulated by authorities. Earlier this year, the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) called onto the Malaysian government to set in place appropriate regulations on nicotine-containing e-liquids. He said that amongst other things, this move would have a positive effect on the local economy by creating more jobs and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
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