Will The Tobacco Industry Intervene In The Proposed Tobacco Control Bill?

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), and Malaysian Green Lung Association would like to thank the Prime Minister of Malaysia for his support regarding the implementation of Generational End Game (GEG) during the presentation of the 2023 Budget.

We also welcome the government’s efforts to impose a tax on electronic cigarette liquid which is in line with Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which provides that tax and price measures on tobacco products and cigarettes must also be applied to electronic cigarette liquids.

This means that every tax imposition needs to be followed up with a law to raise retail prices and make them unaffordable, particularly to children and teenagers.

We are disappointed that nicotine containing tobacco products, liquid solution or gel will be exempted under the Poison Act 1952.

This will enable electronic cigarettes containing nicotine to be sold in the market for pleasure and not be regarded as poison.

Therefore, we would like to emphasize that the implementation of this tax must be preceded by the approval of the Bill with GEG provisions so that the credibility of the Unity Government is guaranteed.

This implementation will give a positive impression to the community that the Unity Government is indeed a government that cares about the welfare of the people, particularly the vulnerable groups, namely children and teenagers.

We would also like to call for this bill to be presented immediately. This is because there are rumours that the tobacco industry had submitted a new legislative proposal using the existing Food Act 1983.

We would like to remind the tobacco industry lobbyists that they would be violating the WHO FCTC because it explicitly provides in Article 5.3 that “In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control.

Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law”.

The government should not be influenced by the industry’s lobbyists and should enact a law prohibiting such interference.

It is an irony that tobacco, vape, and electronic cigarettes that endanger our health are placed at par with food.

The 1983 legislation has placed tobacco-related uses under Section 36 of the Food Act. It should not have happened, but it did and remained in the Act for the past 40 years!

We should not repeat the same mistake by including electronic cigarettes, vape, and now cigarettes processed from herbal leaves (including tea leaves), into the Food Act this time around.

It should be a standalone Tobacco Control Act to strictly regulate these addictive products.

As such, we urge the government not to give in to the insistence of the tobacco industry which is solely motivated by profit.

The government’s wisdom in making the right decision will ensure that the people, especially the future generations will be free from the scourge of nicotine addiction.



Mohideen Abdul Kader
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)

Press Statement, 2 March 2023