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43 organisations want vapes, e-cigarettes banned instead of taxed

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KUALA LUMPUR: Professional health organisations, civil society groups and non-government organisations (NGO) have expressed disappointment over the 2022 Budget move to impose excise tax over nicotine-based vapes and electronic cigarettes.

A joint statement by 43 organisation nationwide said the imposition of the excise tax on the nicotine-based product would mean the government would allow vapes and electronic cigarettes to be sold in the country instead of banning them altogather.

“Our frustration and protest is due to the government deciding to allow the sale of another form of addictive product that has proven to be harmful to the physical and mental health of the people.

“This decision goes against the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning last year, that electronic cigarette have been scientifically proven to affect its users.

“What is sad is that the ASEAN countries have imposed a direct ban but Malaysia is leading the production, sales and distribution in the Asian region. It’s a shame because the products pose a risk to people’s health,” the statement said.

The statement also said that the government’s decision is also not in line with the Special Muzakarah of the National Fatwa Council Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs in 2015, which has deemed electronic cigarettes including vape, as being haram.

The group urged all 220 Members of Parliament (MPs) to urge the Finance Minister to reconsider the proposal that has been tabled, especially when the country is still facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Studies have shown that those who smoke cigarettes or electronic cigarettes will face the risk of severe complications if infected with Covid-19.

“At the same time, we would like to question the role of Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and the Health Ministry top officials on this matter.

“Didn’t YB Khairy call for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle when the country is entering this endemic? Doesn’t the MOH (Health Ministry) need to ensure that this beloved Keluarga Malaysia is free from any risks or comorbidities that will increase the burden of treatment costs?” the statement said.

The group also voiced their opposition to the “Harm Reduction” agenda brought by some parties, as the products remain a health hazard whether it is burned or heated.

“If the purpose of the government allowing these electronic cigarettes and vapes is to help smokers quit smoking cigarettes, why is it not registered through the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division (NPRA)?

“This clearly proves that scientific studies on the effectiveness and safety of electronic cigarettes and vapes are still insufficient and wrong to confirm it,” it said.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz when tabling the 2022 Budget said the government proposed to expand the excise duty towards nicotine-based liquid or gel products used for electronic cigarettes and vape.

The joint statement was signed among others by Persatuan Kesihatan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM Health); Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (M3); Malaysian Women’s Action for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWATCH); Asthma Malaysia; National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM); Malaysian Association of Adolescent Health (MAAH); Pertubuhan Green Lung Malaysia (MGLA); Malaysian Pharmacists Society; Malaysian Association of Environmental Health (MAEH) and the Malaysia Laryngectomee Association (MLA).

Other organisations who signed the joint statement are Consumers Association of Penang (CAP); Pertubuhan Ilmuwan dan Cendekiawan Muslim Malaysia (ILMAN); Malaysia Health Economics Association; Muslim Business Network Association of Malaysia (MUBIN); Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA); MyIKRAM Bikers (MIB); Pertubuhan Teratak Rahmah Wanita Islam (TERATAI) Persatuan Pengguna Pengangkutan Awam Malaysia; MyKhazaa; and the Third World Network.

In addition it was also signed by organisations such as Sahabat Alam Malaysia;Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS); Persatuan Seruan Islam Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan; Ikatan Pengamal Perubatan & Kesihatan Muslim Malaysia (i-Medik); Persatuan Pakar Perubatan Kesihatan Awam; Johor Bebas Asap Rokok (JBAR); Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Malaysia/Malaysian Council for Child Welfare (MKKM); Persatuan Mencegah Dadah Malaysia (PEMADAM); Perak Bebas Asap Rokok (Perbar); Akademi Farmasi Malaysia (MAP);

Malaysian Nurses Association (MNA); and Persatuan Belia Harmoni Malaysia (Harmoni).

It was further signed by Persatuan Perubatan Islam Malaysia (IMAM); Selangor Bebas Asap Rokok (SELBAR); Malaysian Association of Maternal and Neonatal Health (MAMANEH); Persatuan Pelindung Pengguna Kelantan; Persatuan Pelindung Pengguna Negri Sembilan; Persatuan Kebajikan Sokongan Keluarga Selangor & KL (Family Frontiers); Together Against Cancer (TAC); Pertubuhan Kejayaan Wanita India Pahang; National Council of Women Organsation (NCWO) Pahang; Persatuan Perubatan Desa Sabah (PERDESA); and Badan Sokongan Pesakit Kanser Seberang Perai.

ByΒ Teh Athira YusofΒ –Β October 30, 2021 @ 4:21pm

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