BUTTERWORTH, Dec 24 – The Ministry of Health will enforce the ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vape in 21 areas gazetted as non-smoking areas, starting next year. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the ban will be imposed after a special committee chaired by the Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah made improvements to the Food Act 1983 under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.
“We have tobacco control regulations under the Food Act 1983, which was introduced in 2004. Under this act, it is mentioned as ‘smoke’. So all forms of ‘smoke’, such as cigarettes, cigars, and so on, are prohibited in designated areas. We will use this tobacco control legislation for vape by adding a word in the rule, namely ‘vapour’.’ ‘Vapour’ includes vape. So, with this new word, vapers will not be allowed to smoke vape in these 21 non-smoking areas,” he said.
He said he was confident that by next year they can implement this. He told this to the reporters after handing over a hearse donated by the federal government to the Seberang Jaya Hospital here, Wednesday. Also present were Seberang Jaya Hospital director Dr Zainol Ariffin Mohammed and State Development Officer of the Implementation Coordination Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, Syed Shaari Syed Abdullah.
Meanwhile, Dr Hilmi, who is also the Balik Pulau MP said it would create two hospital clusters in the state namely the Seberang Jaya Hospital and Penang Hospital, to optimize the use of existing resources. He said the Seberang Jaya Hospital will be clustered with the Bukit Mertajam Hospital and Sungai Bakap Hospital, while the Penang Hospital will be clustered with the Kepala Batas Hospital and Balik Pulau Hospital.
In additional, he also said that if these hospitals require specialists, they have to refer to the Seberang Jaya Hospital or the Penang Hospital. In the meantime, he also added that any hospital that does not have specialists, they can also refer to these two hospitals.