CYBERJAYA, July 22 — Members of Parliament should not use the issue of illicit markets for cigarettes and vape as an excuse to not support the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill when it is tabled at the Dewan Rakyat next week, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

The bill had been agreed upon by main stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and also vape operators, he said during a media conference here today after officiating Hematogenix Malaysia, the first central oncology clinical research lab in Malaysia.

"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 use the issue of illicit markets, and unclear methods of implementation and enforcement.

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Khairy had stated previously that the suggested implementation of the Generation End Game (GEG) provision in the bill was to protect the younger generation born after 2005 from being involved in smoking habits and addiction, and to reduce the percentage of smokers in Malaysia to less than five per cent by 2040.

According to him, if the bill is passed, Malaysia would be the first country in the world to pass such a law banning smoking and the ownership of smoking products, including vape, for those born after 2005.

Admitting that there were illicit markets for cigarettes and vape, Khairy said his ministry would fight such markets with the assistance of enforcement teams. — Bernama

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