The Health Ministry is drafting a new tobacco bill to raise the legal smoking age to 21 from 18 and to ban smoking in vehicles with children inside.

The New Straits Times (NST) reported earlier this month that the new bill also includes a ban on displaying tobacco products in shops.

“The ministry has, in fact, been lobbying for a tobacco Act since 2005, when Malaysia became a party to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention for Tobacco Control on December 15, 2005. A draft of the tobacco act has actually been prepared since 2009. Unfortunately, it was not tabled in Parliament due to some circumstances,”

An unnamed official from the ministry told NST.

She added that the ministry renewed its efforts to table the bill last year.

She also said a study by the National Poison Centre and Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance showed that some Malaysian children have tried smoking before the age of 13.

The NST article cited the Global School-Based Student Health Survey 2012 in Malaysia which showed that 71% of teenagers who smoke had tried a cigarette before the age of 14.

Although Kuwait, Honduras and Sri Lanka also set the legal age at 21, it is unclear if the move had reduced the number of teenage smokers.

The official from the Health Ministry also said awareness campaigns should be conducted as early as preschool and that parents should warn their children on the severe consequences of nicotine addiction.

Ministry Of Health To Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21
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