PETALING JAYA – The government is looking into permanently banning the sale of cigarettes to Malaysians born after 2005 as part of its “generational endgame to smoking”.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that this proposed ban will be applicable to those who will turn 18 in 2023, where they will no longer be able to purchase cigarettes their entire lifetime.
We, like some other WPRO (Western Pacific) countries, hope to pass a legislation this year which, if successful, will bring about a generation endgame to smoking by making it illegal for the sale of tobacco and other smoking products to anyone born after 2005.
“Malaysia feels this will have a significant impact in preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he said during the 150th session of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) executive board meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (Jan 26).
This proposal comes at the heels of New Zealand announcing a ban on cigarettes last month that is expected to be enacted within this year. This regulation, which will come into effect in 2027, will see those born after 2008 unable to get their hands on a cigarette.
Khairy had previously hinted at passing the new Tobacco and Smoking Control Act in Parliament, where it will not only regulate the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products, but also completely wipe out cigarettes from Malaysian society altogether, where future generations will “no longer know what a cigarette is”.
According to figures provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH), about 27,000 Malaysians die every year due to tobacco-linked diseases such as heart attacks, cancer, and stroke.
Cover image via: The Star & Bernama
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Editor: Sarah Yeoh