Prioritise public health over ‘basic right’ to smoke, says Health DG

KUALA LUMPUR: Priority should be given to public health issues over the “fundamental right” to smoke, especially for young people, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Following that, he said the public is advised to help and support the actions of the Health Ministry in protecting the younger generation from smoking tobacco and vaping.

“The Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Act and tobacco generational endgame (GEG) aims to create a generation that is free from smoking including cigarettes and vaping for those born in 2007 and the years after,” he said in a Facebook post Thursday (July 28).

Yesterday, the Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill 2022 which, among other things, provides for the prohibition of individuals born in 2007 and onwards from smoking, buying or possessing tobacco products or smoking devices, was presented for the first reading at the Dewan Rakyat.

According to the Bill, individuals who smoke tobacco products or tobacco substitute products, use smoking devices or possess tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitute products or smoking devices can be fined not more than RM5,000, if convicted.

Dr Noor Hisham also cited historical facts about previous law enforcement such as the wearing of helmets and seat belts, which concerned the people’s safety and lives.

“Thank God in 1975, 1979 and 2009, the MPs at that time had used their power as representatives of the people well and had contributed to saving many lives.

“There were no parties and lobbyists questioning ‘human rights’ to continue not wearing helmets or seat belts then,” he said. – Bernama