PUTRAJAYA: The government will not support the proposal by the tobacco industry to reintroduce smaller packs of cigarettes known as “kiddie packs” to combat the scourge of contraband cigarettes, says Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
He said the proposal was just an excuse by industry lobbyists who claim that the move could check cigarette smuggling which has caused a rise in the number of smokers in the country.
He said 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 the sale of kiddie packs would be better as the existing 20-stick packs are expensive, which causes smokers to look for the cheaper illegal variety.”
Subramaniam was speaking to reporters after attending the Blue Ribbon Campaign 2017 Appreciation and Recognition Nite yesterday.
He said 52% of smokers in the country were smoking illegal cigarettes, which was worrying.
Kicking the smoking habit was not determined by what types of packs the cigarettes came in, but greater awareness of the dangers of smoking, he added.
He estimated that five million or 23% of smokers in the country were aged between 15 and 50 years.