BUTTERWORTH: Candies in the form of cigarettes are finding their ways to children, and could encourage youngsters to take up smoking later.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subra-maniam said his ministry received reports of such candies being widely sold outside schools.
"We will take action to ensure such products are not sold," he told reporters after launching the MySihat India 1Malaysia Community Health Programme at SK Assumption in Bagan Dalam here yesterday,
"Kids who buy the candies will be smoking later on. This is dangerous," he stressed, adding that action could be taken under the Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulations 1985.
Anyone preparing, packing, labelling or selling food items in confusing ways, can be charged under Section 16 of the Food Act 1983 and face up to three years in jail, a fine or both.
Dr Subramaniam reiterated that tobacco companies were not allowed to advertise their brands on any other businesses other than on their cigarettes.
"This is hidden advertising," he said.
On another issue involving the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV)-related death of a man from Batu Pahat, Johor, Dr Subramaniam advised those going to perform the umrah in Mecca to take their own safety precaution and stay away from those having cough or flu.
"I also advise them to wash their hands frequently and to use sanitiser," he said.
A 54-year-old was the first MERS-CoV victim in the country. He had returned to Malaysia on March 29 after performing the umrah but died on April 13 after developing fever and respiratory complications.
Dr Subramaniam was reported as saying that there could be a correlation between the MERS-CoV and camels, which were suspected to be the source of infection although it was not 100% proven.
On another matter, Dr Subramaniam said dengue cases in the country had dropped to just 1,200 per week compared with 2,500 cases during the first quarter of the year.