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Smoking in Malaysia

There has been a downwards trend in current smoking prevalence in the general population in Malaysia. Smoking prevalence was 29% in 2000 and declined to 22% in 2015, with a further drop to 19% projected by 2025. For men the prevalence decreased from 54% in 2000 to 44% in 2015, with a further decrease to 38% projected by 2025. For women a low prevalence of 3% in 2000 decreased to 1% in 2015, and is projected to decrease further to 0.5% by 2025. The WHO published prevalence trend estimates in tobacco smoking, as shown here, in their 2018 2nd edition report, which show slightly different smoking prevalence to the WHO country profiles. Data for the estimates were obtained from WHO databases. The trend lines are projections, not predictions, of future attainment. A projection indicates a likely endpoint if the country maintains its tobacco control efforts at the same level that it has implemented them to date. Therefore the impact of recent interventions could alter the expected endpoint shown in the projection. While the methods of estimation used in the first and second editions of the WHO report are the same, the volume of data available for the second edition is larger i.e. 200 more national surveys. The results presented are therefore more robust.

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June 20, 2024 by

Vape retailers fear heavy blow from display ban, plain packaging

Vape retailers have expressed concern over the government’s yet-to-be-implemented move to ban vape displays and introduce “standard” packaging for the products, saying it will deal a heavy blow to their business. The measure would follow the gazettement of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2023 in February, which requires that both tobacco and vape products be sold in plain or standardised packaging.

April 02, 2024 by

Regulate vaping to protect children

Universiti Sains Malaysia's National Poison Centre reported a 30.6% increase in nicotine poisoning cases, with teenagers most affected due to vaping. Despite concerns, the Health Minister delisted liquid nicotine without regulation. The unregulated market in Malaysia offers high-nicotine vape products, appealing to young consumers. Vape and e-cigarette companies aggressively market to all, including non-smoking teenagers, leading to addiction and health issues. The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act aims to regulate vaping, but its passing is delayed.

March 18, 2024 by

KJ’s vape specialty store idea will disadvantage rural consumers, says NGO

The Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) has shot down former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s suggestion for the government to restrict sales of vape and e-cigarettes to specialty stores. Its Malaysian associate, Tarmizi Anuwar, said this would put those in rural or semi-urban areas at a disadvantage when it comes to accessibility. “Introducing a licensing system exclusively for vape shops could inadvertently push consumers towards unregulated channels, undermining public health objectives,” he said in a statement.

March 14, 2024 by

Increasing trend of vaping among women - Lukanisman

The Ministry of Health (KKM) found an increasing trend in vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes, including among women, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni said this was the outcome of a comprehensive study being carried out by the ministry, with the study also providing prevalence data on vaping. He said the prevalence data showed there has been an increase in the prevalence of vaping, and among women. “For the 2017 data, the prevalence was 2.8 (per cent) and in 2022, the prevalence showed an increase of 6.2 per cent,“ he said during the question and answer session.

March 12, 2024 by

Health Minister Seeks Cabinet Approval For Proposed Anti-Smoking Regulations

Health Minister Dr. Dzul is seeking Cabinet approval for regulations under the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2024. The Act, already gazetted, will be enforced alongside the regulations. The Ministry of Health has prepared drafts currently under legal review. Stakeholder engagement sessions have been conducted to discuss various aspects, including proposed restrictions on vape and e-cigarettes. Previous suggestions include plain packaging for tobacco products and restricting vape sales. Former ministers have emphasized the importance of regulating ingredients and nicotine content.

February 27, 2024 by

Malaysia’s incidence of illicit cigarettes last year was lowest since 2020

The incidence of illicit cigarettes in Malaysia decreased to 55.6% in 2023, the lowest since 2020. Strict enforcement actions by authorities led to this decline, but illicit market share remains high, causing an annual tax loss of RM5 billion. JTI Malaysia suggests predictable taxation to deter consumers from illegal cigarettes. Fake tax stamps incidence tripled since 2016, reaching 8.7% of the market in 2023. While legal cigarette industry volume stagnated, there was a shift to vaping products, making Malaysia the 12th largest e-vape market. However, vaping products lack regulation, allowing unsafe marketing and ingredients.

February 26, 2024 by

Call to reinstate nicotine in Poisons Act

Consumers Association of Penang calls for the reinstatement of nicotine under the Poisons Act due to the increasing vaping trend among Malaysian youth. CAP criticizes the ineffectiveness of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 and highlights the easy accessibility of vape products to school children. They attribute the rise in underage vaping to loopholes in the law and stress the harmful effects of nicotine. Additionally, CAP advocates for the enforcement of smoking zones and adherence to international standards for smoke-free environments to protect non-smokers' health.

December 14, 2023 by

30% of e-cigarette smokers in Malaysia aged 12 to 15, says group

About 30% of the e-cigarette smokers in Malaysia are aged between 12 and 15 years, according to a regional anti-tobacco organisation. The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca) said the e-cigarette use prevalence among this age group in Malaysia is higher than teen smoking prevalence, which is 12.5% (10.8% boys and 1.7% girls). In contrast, the alliance said, the other countries in Asean, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Thailand, have banned these products along with about 40 other countries globally.

December 07, 2023 by

Illegal to sell nicotine products to minors after anti-smoking Bill passed – SFC

The High Court [...] was told that with the passing of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in Dewan Rakyat last week, vendors are now forbidden from selling smoking products including vape and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to minors. Senior federal counsel (SFC) Ahmad Hanir Hambaly said with the passing of the Bill on Nov 30, children under 18 now cannot smoke (nicotine-containing vape and e-cigarettes). “The sale and supply of poison including nicotine to children would be illegal as provided under Section 13 of the Bill.

November 29, 2023 by

Smoking control bill proposes ban on advertising, promotion of vape products

E-cigarettes or vape products can no longer be advertised, promoted or involved in sponsorship once the Control of Smoking Products For Public Health Bill 2023 comes into force. Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the provisions banning the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products, which were already in force under existing laws, are now expanded to all products including e-cigarettes, tobacco products, smoking substances and substitute tobacco products. She said that Articles 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the bill also require all importers and manufacturers of tobacco products to register each product produced for the Malaysian market.