As Malaysia considers introducing a generational tobacco ban to bring down smoking rates, MPs are urged to exclude vape products from the bill.
Malaysian vape advocacy group MOVE says the government must follow New Zealand’s lead in order to ‘crush’ the country’s smoking epidemic.
Politicians are currently considering new laws which would ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to anyone born after 2006.
Members of a special parliamentary committee, which will make recommendations about the proposed new laws, visited New Zealand as part of their research.
The fact-finding visit was held because the Kiwi government also has similar generational smoke-free laws progressing through its parliament.
The Malaysian Organization of Vape Entities welcomed the trip, saying that New Zealand was looking to introduce ‘fundamentally different and superior’ regulations than those proposed for Malaysia.
However, MOVE said it was crucial that vaping should be recognised as a tobacco harm reduction tool and removed from laws designed to regulate tobacco products.
MOVE President Samsul Ariffin said:
“Lumping vaping into Malaysia’s anti-smoking bill will only criminalise consumers and retailers.
“We urge MPs on the select committee to take vape and non-combustible products out of the legislation and treat them as harm reduction tools.
“Making that distinction will save thousands of Malaysian lives every year.”
He said that regulating adult access to approved vape products was ‘the only way’ to tackle Malaysia’s ‘crippling smoking epidemic’.
“As 70 countries worldwide have already proven, adopting a THR approach works. “Banning vaping for today or tomorrow’s adults will only fail and fail badly.”
Around 21 percent of Malaysians currently smoke and the government wants that number to be under five percent by 2040.
“If Malaysia is to reduce its overall smoking rate fourfold to below five percent by 2040, banning vaping will not get them to that national goal.
“You can’t ban cigarettes for future Malaysian adults without providing a safer, viable alternative. “It’s like banning sugary drinks and sugar-free drinks all at once and hoping it will get people off sugar.
“Malaysia’s generational endgame bill must only ban the purchase of combustible tobacco, not safer nicotine products.”
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates – said it was ‘hopeful’ that the country would follow New Zealand’s lead where public health authorities actively encouraging smoking cessation through vaping.
CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas said:
“New Zealand’s smoking has halved in recent years not because they banned vaping but because they embraced it.
“New Zealand has heavily regulated vaping sales and product standards, with significant penalties for any retailers prosecuted for selling to minors.
“Vaping bans don’t work and that’s why they’re being lifted all around the world.”
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