BAT launches campaign to highlight extent of illegal tobacco market

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 6): British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd (BAT Malaysia) launched a campaign today to draw attention to the seriousness of the tobacco black market, and asking Malaysians to share their thoughts on curtailing the crime.

“Today, 62% of the total tobacco market in Malaysia belongs to criminal gangs, and the country is now the number one in the world for illegal cigarettes.  

“As well as impacting the country’s reputation, the tobacco black market accounts for RM5.3 billion in excise tax losses each year,” BAT Malaysia said in a statement, highlighting its “Stop the Black Market” campaign. 

The group urged concerned Malaysians to take part in a nationwide survey at www.stoptheblackmarket.com.my, while at the same time share their views at https://www.facebook.com/stoptheblackmarket.

BAT Malaysia said the campaign can cast a spotlight on the detrimental of the tobacco black market, adding that the survey results can also help drive a national discussion on how to stop the black market.

Its managing director Jonathan Reed said the negative impact of the tobacco black market is far-reaching, as it affects legal businesses and the lives of all Malaysians.

“We applaud the hard work done by law enforcement agencies recently and we hope that these efforts continue to pressure the syndicates operating in this black market. However, enforcement alone is not enough to address this issue.”

“More attention needs to be drawn to the severity of the issue and Malaysians should have an avenue to voice their concerns, hence why BAT Malaysia is coming to the forefront with this campaign,” he said.

“Malaysians can go to the website to find out more about this problem and participate in the surveys, so that they can reaffirm their stand on this issue and share what they think needs to be done to help with the country’s economic recovery,” he added.

BAT Malaysia’s share price fell 0.56% or six sen to RM10.7, valuing the group at  RM3.06 billion. The counter saw 504,100 shares traded.