Beef up enforcement on cigarettes, says Fomca

Price controls on cigarette sale are a good move, albeit three years late, Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Shaani Abdullah said.

“Although the move was delayed for three years, we are happy that the Government is implementing it,” he said.

According to Muhammad Shaani, price controls were among the commitments required to be implemented by signatories to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Malaysia signed in September 2003 and ratified two years later.

The accord calls for price and tax measures as well as non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.

However, Muhammad Shaani voiced his concerns about the possibility of a lack of enforcement despite the rules being in place.

“We still see people smoking in no-smoking zones, and ashtrays are provided in some government offices where smoking is not allowed,” Muhammad Shaani said, urging all parties involved to do their part in enforcing the terms of the accord.

Asked about the oft-used excuse by tobacco companies that price increases would spur the proliferation of illicit cigarettes, Muhammad Shaani said it should not be a reason to stop increasing cigarette prices.

“There should be no compromise in enforcement against smuggling.

“If we do not prevent smuggling, price controls will not be fully effective,” he said.


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