The Health Ministry has proposed to raise the age limit for a person to buy and sell cigarette to 21, from 18 currently, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahya said the age limit would be among the highlights proposed under a new law to be tabled in Parliament, the latest, by next year.
“We have proposed and submitted to our legal adviser to study, and engagement has been made with all stakeholders,” he said.
He was responding to a supplementary question by Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) on efforts by the government to address the phenomenon in passive smokers.
Passive smoking is considered to be the involuntary expose to another person’s cigarette smoke.
Hilmi said the ministry was also looking into advertisements by cigarette manufacturers, especially at food premises.
“If we are to go to a ‘nasi kandar’ shop, for example, at the counter, there will be full of cigarettes, this we are studying whether to include in the new act, (by having a law) prohibiting cigarettes being placed at the counters,” he added.
He said control of tobacco products was currently under the Food Act 1983.
To a supplementary question by Nasrudin Hassan (PAS-Temerloh) on the success of the government’s anti-smoking campaign, Hilmi said studies showed that the drop was insignificant.
He said based on the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey, the smoking trend among Malaysians aged 18 and above was 24%, compared with the NHMS 2011 finding which was 24.6%.
“I admit that the campaign is not very successful, but we will not give up,” he added. — Bernama