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Malaysia Lawmakers Studying Kiwi Policies

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Malaysia has sent a parliamentary delegation to New Zealand to see what policies are required to achieve its smoke-free ambitions. According to Nancy Loucas, co-founder of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy, the visit reflects that Kiwis are getting the mix right when it comes to tobacco control, legalizing and regulating vaping.

Nancy Loucas

As part of their visit, members of a special Malaysian health, science and innovation select committee intend to meet with New Zealand’s Minister of Health as well as tobacco harm reduction experts to learn exactly what New Zealand is doing to achieve its national ambition of Smoke-Free 2025.

“The visiting Malaysian delegation is a timely reminder to New Zealand MPs [Members of Parliament] to keep focused on the prize—that is, crushing combustible tobacco and not try[ing] to relitigate the 2020 vaping legislation, which is still bedding in and is the envy of plenty,” says Loucas.

Now before Parliament’s health select committee, New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill limits the number of retailers able to sell smoked tobacco products, aims to make tobacco products less appealing and addictive and prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or after.

Similarly, Malaysia’s “generational endgame” bill proposes to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to anyone born during and after 2007. However, Malaysia’s health minister has proposed adding vaping products to the generational ban—a move that has been criticized by advocacy group MOVE (Malaysian Organization of Vape Entities).

“As a percentage, Malaysia has more than twice as many smokers than New Zealand. Hopefully, the visiting delegation will take a clear message back to Malaysia that you can’t achieve smoke-free without providing a safer, viable alternative,” says Loucas.

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