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Malaysia NGOs sue government for delisting liquid nicotine

Malaysia NGOs sue government for delisting liquid nicotine
This picture taken on November 19, 2015 shows a worker inspecting a coil, the metal heating element in an e-cigarette that produces vapour from e-juices, at a vape shop in Kuala Lumpur. Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

Three Malaysian grassroots organisations have filed a civil suit against the government for removing liquid nicotine from the list of controlled substances, saying the move will allow e-cigarettes and vape products to be sold openly without any age restrictions, local media reported.

The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, Malaysian Green Lung Association, and Voice of the Children filed the suit on 30 June. It names Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa and the government as respondents, The Star reported, citing the judicial review application filed by the non-governmental organisations.

Malaysia is working on an anti-smoking bill that seeks to ban the sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to those born after 2007. The NGOs contended that removing nicotine from the list of controlled substances before the tobacco-control rules are in place would allow vape products to be sold openly and legally to anyone, including children.   

Malaysia’s health ministry removed the restrictions on nicotine liquids and gels via a gazetted order on 31 March, which allowed the government to tax vape products containing them starting 1 April. 

The NGOs are looking to quash the health minister’s order as unconstitutional, arguing that she went against the recommendation of the Poisons Board in making the amendment. 

The minister last month asked all parties to support efforts to ensure that the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 can be tabled in Parliament at its next sitting, state news agency Bernama reported. DM


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