Prohibition Of Smoking, Vaping Of Future Generations Violates Consumer Rights

According to Article 5(1) of the FC 1957, 'No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law,' which means that the right to personal liberty includes the right to privacy.

Prohibition Of Smoking, Vaping Of Future Generations Violates Consumer Rights

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 July 2022 – The Government’s unilateral decision on prohibiting smoking products, including vape and cigarettes, for people born after 2007 violates the fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution (FC) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) of 1999.

R. Paneir Selvam, a well-published legal columnist, said that by putting such a comprehensive ban on individuals born after 2007, the government had misled itself on the equality issue, which is critical for any consumer matter.

“Although the Government has the right to restrict a wide range of non-illegal products, this authority must be utilised responsibly. They should not direct a certain generation of individuals inside a state to abide by such a prohibition,” he said.

According to Article 5(1) of the FC 1957, 'No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law,' which means that the right to personal liberty includes the right to privacy. In Tan Tek Seng v Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pendidikan & Others [1996] 1 MLJ 261, he pointed out that the ‘life’ under Article 5 meant more than mere existence, it can be extended to consumer rights.

Protection of the law

Article 8(1) of the FC 1957 stated that ‘All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law,’ which means that those born before or after 2007 should be treated equally by the law.

BAT Malaysia: Generation End Game Akin To Prohibition
Salem says the Ministry should pursue a science based regulatory framework, informed by the positions of countries, such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where vaping is acknowledged as significantly less harmful and a viable alternative to reduce smoking prevalence.

“The government must refrain from enacting any laws that affect equality among its citizens,” Paneir, who is also the Principal Consultant of a home-grown Think Tank, Arunachala Research & Consultancy Sdn. Bhd. (ARRESCON), stated.

The Consumer Protection Act of 1999 (CPA) was designed to give better protection to consumers, and the rights granted by this Act cannot be revoked. This is stated in Section 6 of the CPA, which states that the Act will have power despite any contract that attempts to limit it.

Paneir stated that consumers should be the ones who decide what they want to consume, not the government. “At the end of the day, consumers have the freedom to choose, which is within their right as a consumer.”

MRECA Objects Ban On Vape Sales
MRECA objects this move as it will impact the local industry which comprises more than 3,000 local vape entrepreneurs who are primarily Bumiputera entrepreneurs, says Datuk Adzwan

“The State cannot act as a nanny for its citizens. Instead, they should focus on consumer education, which is the most effective consumer protection strategy since it helps create skills that allow customers to behave responsibly. As opposed to interfering with their decision-making process.”

“The Government should prioritise more pressing issues like economic recovery, rising unemployment and white-collar crime rather than focusing on outlawing smoking goods for individuals born after 2007,” he concluded.