Selangor Journal

Govt expected to spend RM369 mln annually to treat Evali cases

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — The government is expected to bear approximately RM369 million in treatment costs yearly in 2030 for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (Evali) cases, if no legal controls are in place.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the Finance Ministry estimated the vape tax revenues to be about RM500 million a year, but research showed the Evali treatment costs is RM150,000 per patient.

“This is expected to increase to RM369 million a year in 2030. If no control is taken through this bill, then more people will be exposed to the risk of disease complications due to the use of e-cigarettes,” she said when winding up debate on Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Meanwhile, Dr Zaliha said that based on a report titled ‘The Direct Healthcare Cost of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) in Malaysia’ released in 2022, the total direct healthcare costs of the three selected NCDs — cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer — were estimated at RM9.65 billion in 2017.

Treatment costs for chronic cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic lung disease due to smoking complications were estimated at RM8.77 billion by 2030.

The treatment cost is much higher than the cigarette tax collection, estimated at around RM2 to RM3 billion a year. A 2019 study revealed that smoking was estimated to incur RM275.3 billion in productivity loss.

On the removal of the Generational Endgame (GEG) clause from the bill, she said the matter would be examined from time to time after the enforcement and monitoring of the impact of the bill on the decrease in smoking prevalence.

The bill was later passed with a majority voice vote after being debated by 27 MPs.

— Bernama

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