Recently, the Malaysian government is seeking to end smoking among those born after 2007 with the Generational End Game (“GEG”) Bill. This ban will be through the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 which is currently under review in parliament. But what is the existing legislation on smoking and vaping?
Existing legislation on smoking
Smoking has been dominantly regulated under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 (“CTPR”), a component of the Food Act 1983. The CTPR was developed based on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (“WHO FCTC”), of which Malaysia is a signatory. It essentially regulates, among other things, smoke-free zones, tobacco advertising, promotion, sponsorship, selling as well as tobacco packaging and labeling.
Besides, under the CTPR, smoking is prohibited in specific public places and workplaces. This is as listed in regulation 11(1) of the CTPR whereby no one is allowed to smoke:
(a) in entertainment centres, or theatres (not including pubs, discotheques, night clubs, or casinos during their operation hours);
(b) in any area of a hospital or clinic;
(c) in public lifts and toilets;
(d) in air-conditioned eating places or shops;
(e) in public vehicles and public transport terminals,
(f) in airports;
(g) in any area of government premises;
(h) in any area of a building used for assemblies (other than private or residential buildings, or in a public place);
(i) in any area of an educational institution or higher educational institution;
(j) in any area of a nursery;
(k) in school buses;
(l) in any floor with a service counter in buildings listed in the Second Schedule;
(m) in any area of shopping complexes;
(n) in any area of petrol stations;
(o) in any area in stadiums, sports complexes, fitness centres, or gyms;
(p) in any religious building or public place;
(q) in any area of a library;
(r) in any area of internet cafes;
(s) in any area of National Service training grounds;
(t) in any air-conditioned working spaces with a centralised air conditioned system;
(u) in any rest and recreational areas in buildings, playgrounds, or gardens, and the area within three meters of that place;
(v) in any public parks, except an open public car park; and
(w) in any observation towers, camp site, canopy bridges, and five meters from the entrance/exit of the canopy bridge (national parks and state parks).
It should be noted that those who violate reg 11(1) commit an offence as per regulation 11(3) of the CTPR and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not more than RM 10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not more than 2 years. Minors are also prohibited from smoking under regulation 13 of the CTPR.
Besides, regulation 22 of the CTPR also allows the Health Minister to declare any building, premise, or place accessible by the public (or any part of these places) as a non-smoking area.
Moreover, the government has also enforced smoking bans at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide. This ban includes all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open-air hawker centres and street stalls. As such, as per regulation 12 of the CTPR, premise owners can be fined up to RM3,000 or be imprisoned for up to 6 months if they fail to put up ‘No Smoking’ signs. They can also be fined up to RM5,000 or be imprisoned for up to a year if they do not take steps to stop people from smoking on their premises.
Existing legislation on vaping
There are unfortunately no specific regulations on vaping. As long as the vaping liquid does not contain nicotine, vaping will be considered legal as it does not violate the Poisons Act 1952.