Health Ministry: New legislation to regulate vape, shisha still in the works

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today said that the ministry will not be tabling a Bill that that will allow the government to regulate tobacco, vaping and shisha activities. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today said that the ministry will not be tabling a Bill that that will allow the government to regulate tobacco, vaping and shisha activities. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

IPOH, March 3 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today said that the ministry will not be tabling a Bill that will allow the government to regulate tobacco, vaping and shisha activities.

Dr Lee said the ministry was still tying up the loose ends in drafting a new legislation.

“The initial draft is in place but we need to tie up the loose ends. I do not think we will be able to make it for the current session,” he said.

The first meeting of the second session of the 14th parliament is scheduled from March 11 to April 11.

He said the purpose of the draft was to have a special Act in relation to smoking, tobacco products, vaping e-cigarettes and shisha.

“It controls everything on tobacco use. The existing Act is parked under the Food Act 1983. We plan to have a designated Act to control smoking, tobacco and vaping e-cigarettes,”  Dr Lee told reporters after launching MY Hearing Day here today.

Asked if the Bill could be tabled by this year, Dr Lee said: “We are still engaging with non-governmental-organisations, in fact recently we had sessions with parliamentarians on the Bill.”

On smoking in public areas, Dr Lee said the ministry hoped that no summonses would be issued from July 1.

“At the moment we are engaging with the people and have yet to issue any summonses. We see smoking had reduced at eateries. There is a lot of voluntary compliance. We hope everyone will comply when the ban comes in force starting July 1,” he said.

Since January 1, smoking in public places such as restaurants, including those in open air, has been banned.

However, the Health Ministry is giving a six-month grace period to restaurant operators and their patrons, and will start issuing fines and compounds from July 1.

Anyone found guilty of smoking in prohibited areas may be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years under Regulation 11 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.