MPS: Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietor's General Association's 'Kiddies Pack' Suggestion Contradicts Efforts to Reduce Smoking
for IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 September 2017, Puchong, Malaysia - Referring to the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietor’s General Association’s suggestion to restore pack sizes to less than 20 sticks (kiddies packs) to the Malaysian market in order to reduce circulation of illegal cigarettes, the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (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 “kiddies 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 “kiddies packs” should be carried on and supported by all.
Accordingly, the government is committed to make Malaysia a smoke-free country by 2030 or some other reasonable year. There are indeed other countries in the world which have already set such a target, such as New Zealand, Singapore, and Bhutan.
The MPS also recommends that the government conduct closer surveillance on the smuggling of illegal cigarettes into the country by unscrupulous parties. In terms of overall usage, 60% of cigarettes in the country come from the illicit cigarette trade. This indicates that Malaysia is severely plagued by an illicit cigarette pandemic. Due to the lower sale price of illegal cigarettes, the number of underage smokers has in turn increased.
The MPS also appeals for stricter laws so that heftier penalties may be imposed on those involved in the illegal cigarette supply chain, whether this be in the form of longer jail terms or larger fines.
The MPS will work closely with the government to facilitate efforts to reduce cigarette- and electronic cigarette-addiction in the country.
According to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), an estimated 5 million Malaysians, 22.8% of the population, are smokers. Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organisation, approximately 600 000 people die each year as a result of exposure to cigarette smoking or passive cigarette smoke, with 28% of these being children.
The MPS is one of the key stakeholders in the campaign against cigarette- and electronic cigarette-dependence. Pharmacists who have been trained in mQuit activities are always prepared to provide smoking cessation services to patients and consumers.