Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 17, 2007

Ministry finalising bill to ban smoking in more places

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:45 am

NST: GEORGE TOWN: The Health Ministry is finalising the Tobacco Product Control Bill, which will see smoking being banned in more places in the near future.
Besides a proposal to ban smoking in National Service training camps nationwide, the ministry is looking at expanding the list to include open-air eating premises, health centres and factory buses.
Its parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon, however, said the matter was pending discussions.
“The enlargement of non-smoking areas is constantly under review.
“If all goes well, we hope to present the bill to cabinet for approval by early next year,” he said yesterday.
Lee said the bill would consolidate the law on tobacco control together with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s requirements.
“The bill is our commitment to reduce diseases and to slow the rise of chronic diseases and early death.”
He, however, said until such time the new act came into force, which he said could take a long time, similar amendments would be made to the Control of Tobacco Product Regulation 2004 under the Food Act 1983.
“It will take a long time for a bill to be gazetted into an act, sometime years, because it has to go through numerous processes: the Attorney-General’s Chambers, parliament and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“If amendments are made to the existing law, we can implement and enforce the smoking ban on such places faster and I can assure you enforcement will be strict then,” he said, adding that once the new act came into force, the existing law would be made obsolete. “The amendments are to cater for the interim period until the new act comes into force.”
He also said it was looking at making it mandatory for cigarette manufacturers and importers to make sure that health warnings covered at least half the cigarette packet.
It is understood that the warnings must cover more than half of the front and back of the cigarette packets and may include a graphic illustration of the hazards of smoking.
Many countries, including those in the European Union, require cigarette manufacturers to carry graphic photographs illustrating the consequences of smoking to health.
Singapore has, since Aug 1, required cigarette packs to carry graphic warnings, including images of a cancerous lung and a brain oozing blood after a stroke.

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