“Banning smoking products would be counterproductive”


PETALING JAYA: The proposed decision to ban smoking products for Malaysians born after 2005 will hit businesses and trigger an increase in the illicit sale of such products, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) has said.

He said such a knee-jerk move would drive consumers to unregulated black market sources.

“While we support the efforts of the Ministry of Health to preempt the high incidence of tobacco use in the country, we cannot tolerate the arbitrary establishment of policies and regulations without proper consultation and scientific decision-making.

“This may set a precedent on a slippery slope affecting other sectors as well,” MICCI said in a statement.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said on Wednesday that the ministry planned to take measures to control and prevent non-communicable diseases, in the hope that the legislation would be passed this year.

MICCI suggested that all policies should be carefully considered before implementation to avoid inconsistent application which also discourages business.

He pointed to the introduction of high excise duties on cigarettes, which had backfired as they encouraged the sale of illegal cigarettes.

“Malaysia’s tobacco black market currently accounts for 57% of the total tobacco market, making the country the world’s number one in illegal cigarettes,” he added.

MICCI urged the government to consider introducing harm reduction policies to encourage smokers to switch to less harmful products such as no-burn products and vapes.

“Several international studies have shown that not burning or vaping is significantly less harmful,” he said, noting that countries like New Zealand have successfully implemented such policies.

MICCI said that by introducing comprehensive complementary regulations on risk reduction, it could protect the health of Malaysians and allow local businesses to continue contributing to excise duties.


About Author

Comments are closed.