The Malaysian government is planning to ban the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to anyone born after 2005, the country's health minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, said on Jan. 27.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the ban will also include vaping products and e-cigarettes.
A "generation endgame to smoking"
Khairy shared the plan during his intervention at the 150th session of the World Health Organisation's executive board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, that took place from Jan. 24 to 29.
In the clip shared on his Twitter account, Khairy said that Malaysia is planning to pass legislation later this year that would bring a "generation endgame to smoking" by making it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after 2005.
If the legislation is passed and implemented this year, it would mean that those below the age of 17 in 2022 are not allowed to buy cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.
According to a report by the Tobacco Atlas, a publication in partnership between the American Cancer Society and Vital Strategies, every year, more than 27,200 deaths occur in Malaysia due to tobacco-related diseases.
The report added that more than 4,528,000 adults aged 15 and above use tobacco products each day, and about 44,000 children aged 10 to 14 years old do so.
Khairy said that the ban will have a "significant impact" in controlling and preventing non-communicable diseases, Malaysiakini reported.
This is similar to a recent move by New Zealand to eventually ban the sale of tobacco products for people born after 2008.
Netizens generally in support
The video on Khairy's intervention on Twitter had garnered a significant amount of attention, with more than 2,000 retweets and about 3,400 likes.
There were quite a number of netizens who welcomed this move.
This is smart considering it’s hard for the current smoker to stop their addiction. https://t.co/kBIoFZTCkZ— iska (@iskandarzhilmi) January 30, 2022
This is a great initiative but hope that it would be enforced properly. Enforcing this plan will be a good way to eradicate smoking among the future generation. Still doubtful of the pihak berkuasa that will implement this plans though. Let's see. https://t.co/Q12bR2R41D— Jagadish Pirahalathan (@vyrus7) January 28, 2022
Honest from deep inside, please do it.— i k h s a n (@Ikhsan_Isda) January 28, 2022
I have been struggling with it for 15 years now, and still struggle to cut it out. Just do it. https://t.co/W3lVOkYIhZ
Rise in "uncontrollable" blackmarket: Business community
However, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) said that the ban would affect businesses, The Star reported.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the chamber also predicted an "uncontrollable black market" for tobacco products if the ban took place.
Its executive director, Shaun Cheah, reportedly said that the chamber criticised the "arbitrary setting of policies" which will drive consumers to "unregulated hazardous black market sources".
"Malaysia's tobacco black market currently commands 57 per cent share of the total tobacco market, making the country number one in the world for illegal cigarettes," MICCI said, The Star reported.
Cheah said that six out of 10 packets of cigarettes sold in the country came from illegal sources since higher excise duties were imposed on cigarettes in 2015.
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