The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, recently tabled in Malaysia, has dropped a controversial clause designed to prevent future generations from smoking. The Generational End Game (GEG) clause, developed by former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, would have banned the sale and use of tobacco and vape products to individuals born after January 1, 2007. Its absence from the current bill has sparked disappointment and criticism.
Khairy Jamaluddin's disappointment
Khairy, who now refers to himself as a 'retired politico,' expressed his disappointment at the exclusion of the GEG clause from the bill. Labeling the day of the announcement as a 'sad day,' he characterized the development as a victory for tobacco and vape companies. He also criticized the current government and Attorney General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh for the omission, suggesting that this decision was influenced more by a strong lobby from tobacco companies than by legal concerns about the clause's constitutionality.
The Bill's limited scope
Despite its exclusion of the GEG clause, the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 will still regulate vape sales. However, Khairy argues that without the GEG clause, the bill falls short of being a significant piece of public health legislation. In his view, the government has missed an opportunity to pass a 'consequential, landmark legislation for public health.'
Hope for future public health concerns
Despite the setback, Khairy remains hopeful about the future of public health measures in Malaysia, particularly in the fight against youth smoking. His disappointment over the exclusion of the GEG clause from the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 underscores his ongoing commitment to this cause. He believes that public health concerns will eventually prevail, ensuring that future generations are protected from the harmful effects of smoking.