GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA - The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has proposed that premium brand cigarettes should be priced at RM30 (S$12.285) for a pack of 20. The price now is less than RM10 (S$4.095).
CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris also called yesterday for a ban on the sale of "cheap/value brand" cigarettes, which are priced between RM2.20 and RM2.50 per pack of 20.
He lauded the move mooted by Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that from January, a minimum price of RM6.20 be fixed for a pack of 20 cigarettes.
"However, we feel the price is too low and will not bring about a major impact. We feel the price should be fixed at RM30 for a pack of 20-stick cigarettes," Idris said..
"Ideally, tobacco should be banned completely. The country should be moving in this direction." yesterday.
Premium brand cigarettes are sold in the United Kingdom at RM36.60, Ireland (RM37.98), New Zealand (RM27.20), Japan (RM10.60), Singapore (RM27.80), and Sri Lanka (RM10.90).
Idris said the magnitude of the smoking epidemic in the country should not be downplayed.
He said more than 50 per cent of Malaysian adult males were smokers.
"About 50 children below the age of 18 take up smoking every day. Not to mention that about 10,000 Malaysians die every year from smoking-related ailments, making it one of the top killers in the country."