KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 4): The Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietor’s General Association’s suggestion to restore cigarette pack sizes to less than 20 sticks contradicts Malaysia's effort to reduce smoking among the younger population as the idea "would be a step backward", the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) said.
The smaller cigarette pack size is popularly known as "kiddie pack". In a statement, the MPS said Malaysia was committed to reduce smoking among the country's population. The MPS said countries like New Zealand, Singapore and Bhutan also had similar initiatives.
"Referring to the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietor’s General Association’s suggestion to restore pack sizes to less than 20 sticks to the Malaysian market in order to reduce circulation of illegal cigarettes, the MPS adopts a grave view of this suggestion as the MPS believes there are two separate issues at play here, namely the issue of cigarette pack size and the issue of illegal cigarettes.
"In light of the government’s efforts to reduce smoking across the nation, the restoration of the "kiddie pack” would be a step backwards and does not carry any benefit for the people or for the country. As one of the key stakeholders in the efforts to reduce smoking in Malaysia, the MPS believes that efforts implemented by the government in 2006 to ban “kiddie packs” should be carried on and supported by all," the MPS said.
The MPS said it hoped the Malaysian Government would implement stricter laws on illegal cigarettes so that heftier penalties might be imposed on those involved in the supply chain.
"Due to the lower sale price of illegal cigarettes, the number of underage smokers has in turn increased," the MPS said.