The Government’s Tobacco Endgame 2040 is a strategy to make Malaysia a tobacco-free nation by 2040, and as part of the programme the local Government has recently announced plans to prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, vape, and e-cigarettes to anyone after 2005.
“This is by making it illegal for the sale of tobacco and other smoking products to anyone born after 2005,” said Jamaluddin. “Malaysia feels that it will have a significant impact on preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he added.
The health minister stated that there will come a time when the next generation “will no longer know what a cigarette is.” Echoing Mendelsohn’s sentiment, a local medical practitioner with experience in addiction therapy in Malaysia Dr Arifin Fi, recently highlighted that tobacco harm reduction (THR) approaches would help reverse the problem caused by smoking across the country.
Tobacco harm reduction approaches strike the right balance
While Mendelsohn added that without the endorsement of safer alternative products, it is unlikely that the country will reach its smokefree goal. “It is highly unlikely that Malaysia will reach its zero-tobacco goal by 2040 without it,” he added. The THR expert explained that a regulatory system that facilitates the reporting of harmful effects and recalls for unsafe products must be introduced.
“Regulations for vaping need to strike a balance between making high quality, regulated products available for adult smokers while restricting access to young people who do not smoke,” he noted. “Restrictions on vaping should be proportionate to risk as vaping is far less harmful than smoking.”