MPs should not use the issue of the illicit market for cigarettes and vape as a reason not to support the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill when it is tabled at the Dewan Rakyat next week, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says.
The bill has been agreed to by the main stakeholders, including NGOs and vape operators, he said at a press conference in Cyberjaya yesterday.
"We have to be on the right side of history. This bill has been 10 years in the making. Yes, there is (an) illicit market but don’t use the illicit market argument to vote against the law which is for public health. We will fight the illicit market," he said.
A media outlet had previously reported that the bill might be opposed by several MPs, who might cite the issue of the illicit market, and unclear methods of implementation and enforcement.
Khairy previously said that the suggested implementation of the Generation End Game (GEG) provision in the bill was to protect the younger generation born after 2005 from becoming involved in smoking habits and addiction, and to reduce the percentage of smokers in Malaysia to less than 5% by 2040.
He said if the bill was passed, Malaysia would be the first country in the world to have passed such a law, banning smoking and the ownership of smoking products, including vape, for those born after 2005.
Admitting that there was an illicit market for cigarettes and vape, Khairy said his ministry would fight such markets with the assistance of enforcement teams.