Malaysia looking at plain packs

| February 24, 2016

Malaysia is planning to introduce standardized packaging for tobacco products, but it is not known when this might happen, according to a story in the Malay Mail.

Dr. Chong Chee Keong, director of the Health Ministry’s disease control division, said standardized packaging would have the biggest impact on smoking prevalence, especially among new and light smokers.

“We are planning to do that in stages, but at this moment, we don’t have a firm date,” Chong told the Mail.

The World Health Organization’s theme for World No Tobacco Day on May 31 this year is ‘Get ready for plain packaging’.

Australia is the only country to require that tobacco products are sold in standardized packaging, though a number of other countries have passed laws that will require such packaging and yet others have expressed their intention to do so.

According to the WHO, Australia’s daily smoking rate among those aged 14 years and older fell to 12.8 per cent from 15.1 per cent between 2010 and 2013. ‘The drop in the smoking rate shows that the plain-packaging law enforced at the end of 2012 – as well as the 25 percent tax increase Australia instituted in 2010 – works,’ said WHO.

When asked if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that Malaysia has signed [but not ratified] would affect the government’s move to enforce standardized tobacco packaging, Chong said the free treaty had yet to be tested.

“Till we test it, we assume we can do it,” he said.

The 12 countries that have signed the TPP have two years to complete necessary domestic legislative procedures and ratify the agreement; or reject it.

Category: Breaking News

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