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An End to the Generational End Game Provision

The origin story of the legislation began on July 27, 2022, when the groundbreaking Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 ("the 2022 Bill") was introduced in the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) by the then Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin.

The most highlighted elements of the 2022 Bill, known as the Generational Endgame Bill, centred on proposals to forbid individuals born after January 1, 2007, from using tobacco or related products and restrict the sale of these items and smoking devices to this particular demographic ("endgame provisions").

However, due to the dissolution of the Fourteenth Malaysian Parliament in October 2022, the 2022 Bill couldn't progress further after being referred to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee for review, especially regarding enforcement provisions and the magnitude of fines for offences.

Subsequently, the 2022 Bill was reintroduced as the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 (referred to as the 'original 2023 Bill') on June 12, 2023. This version retained the endgame provisions but reduced penalties for smoking-related offences by those born after January 1, 2007.

Unexpectedly, the original 2023 Bill was withdrawn on November 28, 2023, and replaced by a new version (the'revised 2023 Bill'). A significant change in this revised bill was the removal of all endgame provisions. Instead, it focused on prohibiting minors from using tobacco products and restricted their sale but excluded smoking devices.

Although healthcare advocates, anti-smoking groups, and politicians expressed disappointment over the removal of endgame provisions, the revised 2023 Bill was passed on November 30, 2023, marking its progression towards becoming law. The article highlights key provisions within this revised bill.

Existing Legal Framework: 

The Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 is the primary framework regulating tobacco sales in Malaysia. It covers various aspects, including packaging regulations, prohibiting sales to minors, smoking restrictions, advertising bans, and sponsorship limitations.

Salient Provisions in the Revised 2023 Bill:

  1. Expanded Product Scope: The revised 2023 Bill broadens its coverage beyond traditional tobacco products to include smoking substances and substitute tobacco products, encompassing vaping and e-cigarettes.

  2. Registration Requirement: All regulated products must be registered with the Director General of Health before import, manufacture, or distribution within Malaysia.

  3. Advertising and Promotion Bans: The bill prohibits advertising containing regulated products, sponsorship promoting smoking, and any promotional activities encouraging smoking or portraying regulated products as quit smoking aids.

  4. Control of Sales and Price: It regulates the sale of regulated products, controlling pricing and packaging compliance, while also specifying non-smoking areas.

  5. Prohibition Relating to Minors: The bill prohibits selling regulated products to minors and prohibits minors from purchasing, using, or possessing these products, imposing fines or community service for violations.

  6. Regulation of Imitation Products: It bans the advertising and sale of imitation regulated products, though with lower penalties than genuine product violations, a discrepancy needing rectification.

  7. Legislative Changes: Concurrently, the Food (Amendment) Bill 2023 was passed to delete the section related to tobacco in the Food Act 1983, indicating legislative changes accompanying the revised 2023 Bill's passage.

Closing Thoughts

The revised 2023 Bill's passage marks a prolonged legislative journey, while disappointment lingers over the withdrawal of endgame provisions. Despite its positive aspects, the retreat from ambitious smoking eradication goals has left a sense of anticlimax.

by MH Law | January 5, 2024 | Legal Alerts

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