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Tobacco control Bill must pass, pharmacists tell MPs after toddler poisoned by vape liquid

Publish date: Sat, 10 Jun 2023, 01:02 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — The Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) has today called on Parliament to not waver in passing the Tobacco Product Control for Public Health Bill 2023, which would also include the Generational End Game (GEG) provision.

In a statement, MPS president Prof Amrahi Buang warned that delaying this Bill would result in no control over vape products and nicotine liquid after they were delisted from the Poisons Act on March 31.

“Each day of delay prolongs the exposure of individuals to the risks associated with vape products, exacerbating the public health crisis,” he said.

“We expect every Member of Parliament to fulfil their duty to protect their citizens, who have entrusted them with their votes in the recent 15th General Election. By wholeheartedlysupporting and endorsing the Tobacco Product Control for Public Health Bill 2023, parliamentarians will demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of the Malaysian people and the protection of public health.”

MPS said its statement came following the recent incident of a toddler suffering from acute nicotine toxicity from suspected inhaling or swallowing of vape liquid on May 30.

Last week, the Ministry of Health said the two-year-old girl who has no history of chronic illness was found coughing and vomiting with an electronic cigarette lying beside her. She was rushed to the intensive care unit and had suffered from seizures twice, but was already in a stable condition.

He said the legislation will address the rising nicotine and drug abuse in vape products and protect vulnerable individuals from falling prey to addiction, and urged MPs to table, debate and approve the Tobacco Product Control for Public Health Bill 2023, including the Generational End Game (GEG) provision, on June 12.

He said MPS is ready to support and collaborate with all stakeholders to achieve the objective of protecting the health and well-being of Malaysians.

“As healthcare professionals, we hold a sacred duty to advocate for patient and human safety. The oath we take compels us to prioritize the welfare of individuals and society as a whole, ensuring that no harm comes to those under our care.

“This principle must never be conveniently silenced, especially in the face of powerful business lobbies,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Health Ministry said it is set to re-table the highly anticipated Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill on June 12 for its first reading in Parliament.

Its minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said it is not true that there is uncertainty regarding the timeline of when the Bill would be tabled.

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