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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — The government has not decided yet to impose issuing licences to retailers to sell tobacco products, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said today.
When asked if the government would introduce such measures to regulate and control tobacco sales in the future following a nationwide smoking ban since January 1, Kok said it was still under discussion and nothing has been finalised.
“Actually it is still in the process of internal discussion. We will make an announcement once there is a concrete decision,” she said to reporters after attending an event at the 8TV CNY Grand Bazaar at Bukit Jalil here.
In Malaysia, Section 32(1) and 33(1) of the Excise Act 1976 requires that all vendors, retailers, shops and restaurants have a licence to sell liquor.
A survey released yesterday by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) revealed roughly seven out of 10 retailers are participants of incentive programmes offered by tobacco companies as part of the latter’s promotional tactics and to boost cigarettes sales.
IIUM lecturer Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed from its Faculty of Pharmacy called for the government to impose issuing licences to retailers to sell tobacco products, similar to the liquor licence.
Mohamad Haniki was quoted saying that such marketing tactics by tobacco companies will consistently undermine tobacco control efforts proposed by the government through its National Strategic Plan for Tobacco Control to reduce smoking prevalence to less than five per cent by the year 2045.
Since January 1, smoking in public places such as restaurants, including those in open air, has been banned.
However, the Health Ministry is giving a six-month grace period to restaurant operators and their patrons and will start issuing fines and compounds from July 1.