Cigarettes In Malaysia Will Soon Cost More Than RM21 Per Pack

There are about five million smokers in Malaysia.

Cover image via Microeconomics Analysis

The price of cigarettes in Malaysia will be increased to RM21.50 per pack soon

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via My Media Studies

In a report by The Star on 28 March, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya announced that the government will be increasing the price of cigarettes in their efforts to discourage people from smoking.

"Cigarettes are currently sold at RM17 per packet and the target is to raise the price to RM21.50 per packet."

"Although we have held numerous campaigns, unfortunately we are fighting against the odds.

"For example, we have declared rest and recreation areas to be restricted smoking areas, yet there are still people smoking there," said Dr Hilmi, agreeing that the government's anti-smoking campaigns have not exactly worked in decreasing the number of smokers in the country.

On top of increasing cigarette prices, the government is also looking into raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21

Image via Dinasou

The government will also be diversifying their anti-smoking campaign methods by introducing plain cigarette packaging to make it less appealing.

The current cigarette packaging in Malaysia has pictorial health warnings that are required to cover 50% of the front and 60% of the back of all cigarette packages. The warning text must in Malay at the front and English on the back.

The government also prohibits the use of misleading descriptors such as, "light", "mild", "low tar", famous", "rich", "premium, and "Grade A" on the packages.

Dr Hilmi also said that the Tobacco Products and Cigarettes Bill will be tabled next year as part of the government's efforts to control the sale and advertisement of cigarettes

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya

Image via K.E Ooi/Malay Mail Online

Stressing that the government had spent an average of RM2 million per year since 2004 for anti-smoking campaigns, Dr Hilmi said that they are looking to use digital platforms and target the social media channels to dissuade people from smoking.

It was reported that there are 774 centres in government clinics and hospitals that offer free treatment to smokers that are looking to kick the habit.

A report by New Straits Times (NST) in June 2016 highlighted that there are about five million smokers in Malaysia. That is about 22.8% of the population.

An image of how a smoker's lungs will look like after just 20 cigarettes.

Image via Business Insider Malaysia

A survey by the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) revealed that 50% of the smokers are above the age of 30, 40% are above the age of 19 and the remaining 10% are below 19.

What's really worrying is that seven out of 10 or 8.6 million adults are exposed to secondhand smoke at public places like restaurants, cafes, and parks. Meanwhile, four out of 10 or 7.6 million adults face secondhand smoke in their own homes.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 600,000 people die yearly from passive smoking. 28% of the victims are children.

Do you think increasing cigarette prices will reduce the number of smokers in Malaysia? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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