PUTRAJAYA: The government will in no way support the proposal by the tobacco industry to re-introduce kiddie pack cigarettes (pack of 10 sticks) to combat the scourge of contraband cigarettes, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said the proposal was just an excuse by industry lobbyists who claimed that the move could check cigarette smuggling which caused a rise in the number of smokers in the country.
He said that if the government agreed (to the move), it would be against the National Tobacco Policy and Article 8 of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
“Their premise is that they want to help the government check the sale of contraband cigarettes. They claim that sale of kiddie backs would be better as the existing 20-stick packs were expensive which caused smokers to look for the cheaper illegal variety,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam told this to reporters after attending the Blue Ribbon Campaign 2017 Appreciation and Recognition Night here, last night.
He said 52 per cent smokers in the country were smoking illicit cigarettes which was something very worrying.
He added that kicking the smoking habit was not determined by what type of packs they came in but greater awareness on the dangers of smoking.
He estimated that five million or 23 per cent of smokers in the country were aged between 15 and 50 years.
Dr Subramaniam also praised the Customs Department for intensifying efforts to stamp out sale of illicit cigarettes.
The event saw 220 premises and the media recognised for their efforts to stamp out smoking in public places.