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Health Minister Should Prioritise Health over Nicotine Taxes

LETTERS: WAFIQ would like to express our shock and dismay at the report that Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa approved an amendment to the Poisons Act 1952 to allow for the legalisation of nicotine-laced products, overruling the Poisons Board’s decision.

We are disappointed that Dr Zaliha, the first female health minister with a medical background, signed off on The Poisons (Amendment of Poisons List) Order 2023.

The order has a clause that allows nicotine to be used in the “preparation of a kind used for smoking through the electronic cigarette and electric vaporising device, in the form of liquid or gel”.

By excluding nicotine from the Poisons Act before passing the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 would result in children having access to nicotine-laced vape products.

Although Dr Zaliha, after the backlash from non-governmental organisations, said the Health Ministry would get back to tabling the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, this was done only as an afterthought and as a damage-control mechanism.

As health minister, she should be committed to tabling the bill first before being seen as the health minister who rushed to expedite tax collection by facilitating the Excise Duties (Amendment) Order 2023 first.

This order subjects e-cigarette liquid or gel containing nicotine to an excise duty of 40 sen per millilitre.

Many doubt whether she can get the bill passed.

On Dec 5, she made a commitment to address issues affecting women and children.

Sadly, she’s the first female minister to overrule the Poisons Board’s decision and signed the amendment to the Poisons Act legalising nicotine in vape, making it accessible to children.

It will be documented in history.



International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (Wafiq)

Source: New Straits Time

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