KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — The Health Ministry reportedly said today its screening of 1.3 million secondary school students found that more than 43,000 school students were smoking cigarettes.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said that out of a total of two million students undergoing screening, a shocking 341 primary school students were identified as having started using cigarette products.

“Through screening conducted against underage smokers, especially in primary and secondary schools, we identified more than 43,000 students smoking. That is what we are really worried about,” she told Utusan Malaysia.

“Recently we were surprised by the sale of vape outside the school, this group is easily attracted to vape because of its colour, shape and smell which makes the children want to try it. So, this proves that the effort to stop this matter also needs to cross ministries.”


She reportedly said that the number is very worrying among minors and emphasised the need for a control law to prevent smoking among the younger generation and protect their health.

In the report, she said among the new changes in the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill presented by the previous government is the ban on the sale and use of smoking products for individuals born on or after January 1, 2007. This change deviates from the previously agreed date of January 1, 2005.

She said that the enforcement of the ban will be carried out in phases, starting with conventional cigarettes, while enforcement for electronic cigarettes or vaping will await periodic reports.


“The ban on the possession of any form of smoking product for the generational endgame (GEG) is dropped in this new bill, instead it is only related to sale, purchase and use only.

“Therefore, the issue of body inspection for the GEG group does not apply since the ownership provision has been dropped,” she was quoted as saying.

Last month, the ministry said it hopes that the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill, which will regulate all smoking products including those containing nicotine, will be tabled in Parliament this month.

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the bill is of paramount importance to protect the health of the young generation and it comprises two main aspects, namely the control of smoking products including vape and e-cigarettes and the implementation of generational endgame (GEG) policy.