On 14 July 2022, a Malaysia press release reported that the draft of the proposed Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill had been approved by the Cabinet. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said: “The Bill was approved by Cabinet yesterday. So I will be sending it to Parliament for this session". The proposed Bill contains provisions to prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco, and vape products to those born after 2005.
13 public health experts were prompted to respond to this proposed legislation, and they started by applauding the government’s efforts to strengthen the prevention and control of combustible tobacco-related disease and premature death. However, they warned of the unintended consequences of regulating non-combustible, reduced-risk products in the same way as combustible cigarettes. They emphasised two important points about ENDS:
In this letter sent to the Malaysian PM and Cabinet, the experts urged them to support smokers by encouraging a mass switch from high-risk cigarettes to low-risk ENDS by using risk-proportionate regulation, thus accelerating the end of the epidemic of smoking-related disease. Read the full letter here.