The decision to ban the 14 stick packs was taken as one of the measures to bring down the rate of smoking especially amongst the youth.
The magnitude the smoking epidemic in Malaysia cannot be downplayed. More than 50% of Malaysian adult males are smokers. About 50 Malaysian children below the age of 18 take up smoking every day. Not to mention that approximately 10,000 Malaysians die every year from smoking-related diseases, making it one of the top killers in the country.
We were concerned to note recently that after 10 years of Government anti-smoking campaigns, there has only been a two-per cent drop in the number of smokers.
We thought that the government was serious when the Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said last year that the there would be no more hiccups in the ban and that in June 2010 after 5 long years of delay the 14 stick packs would be phased out.
IT IS THE RAKYAT WHO HAVE BEEN PHASED OUT! The profits of a few are more important than the health of the nation.
Section 16(1) of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 clearly states, “The manufacturer shall pack the cigarettes in a packet containing not less than twenty sticks of cigarettes”.
The Government has now violated its own regulations! The Government must not support the purveyors of death. The ban must be implemented as promised.
Press Statement, 27 May 2010