December 28, 2009 – PUTRAJAYA: The cheapest cigarettes in the market will cost RM6.40 (1.87 USD) per pack of 20s starting January 1, 2010. Map – Malaysia..
Under the Tobacco Products Control Regulations gazetted by the Health Ministry and aimed at snuffing out the smoking habit, the minimum retail price for a stick of cigarette is set at 32 sen (Malaysian ringgit (dollar) is divided into 100 sen (cents)).
At present, a pack of 20s usually costs RM9.30 (2.71 USD) but cheaper ones as low as RM4.80 (1.40 USD) per pack are available.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the regulations would also prohibit price promotions. This means cigarette would not be allowed to be sold with labels carrying words such as “discount”, “special price”, “special offer”, “promotion”, “limited edition” or any other terms that indicate the offer of a price that is cheaper than the retail price on the cigarette packs.
“The two regulations are vital in making cigarettes less affordable to children, youths and those from the lower income group,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Liow said the move was in line with the Government’s commitment to protect children and teenagers from taking up smoking.
Even the World Bank, he said, agreed that price controls and taxes on tobacco products were effective in reducing the number of smokers. Malaysia’s own studies had shown that a 10 percent increase in price reduced the number of smokers by 3.8 percent.
Federation of Malaysia Consumer Asssociations (Fomca) secretary-general Muhammad Shaani Abdullah Muhammad Shaani voiced his concerns about the possibility of a lack of enforcement despite the rules being in place. According to Muhammad Shaani, price controls were among the commitments required to be implemented by signatories to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which Malaysia signed in September 2003 and ratified two years later. Muhammad Shaani: There should be no compromise in enforcement against smuggling. “If we do not prevent smuggling, price controls will not be fully effective.”
References: Cigarettes: Cheapest at RM6.40 per pack, theSTAR.com.my, 12/28/2009; Beef up enforcement on cigarettes, says Fomca, theSTAR.com.my, 12/28/2009.