Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 9, 2007

Integrated Approach Rather Than Tax Hike To Deter Smokers

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:16 am

ALOR GAJAH, April 8 (Bernama) — An integrated approach is needed to curb smoking habits among the public instead of merely imposing sales tax on cigarettes, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
He said although numerous studies had shown that when the price of cigarettes was raised significantly, there would be a drop in demand, it would also encourage cigarette smuggling.
“This (raising the price of cigarettes) is not a simple matter, in the past, the price of hard drinks was raised from RM3 to RM12, yet the people still consumed such drinks,” he told reporters after visiting the Public Health Campaign organised by the Health Ministry at Machap Umboo, here tonight.
Dr Chua said this when asked to comment on the press report today that two consumer associations had urged the government to impose a higher sales tax so that a pack of 20 cigarettes would cost at least RM10.
The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) and the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (FOMCA) believed that increasing the sales tax could prevent the multinational cigarette companies from reducing cigarette prices arbitrarily.
Dr Chua said it was estimated that 30 per cent of the cigarettes sold in Sabah were smuggled cigarettes.
The minister reminded smokers that there was no reason for them to smoke because each year, 10,000 people died of diseases related to cigarette smoking.

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