Last Tuesday, the Malaysian government said that they were considering raising the price of cigarettes from the current RM17 to RM21.50, in a bid to discourage smokers, which caused much dismay to many cigarette smokers around the nation.
While this move has not been confirmed, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said,
“Raising cigarette prices is ineffective in getting smokers to kick the habit.”
Instead, he highlights other methods that could be much more effective in the long run. He says,
“What the authorities should do is educate the young on the ill effects of smoking. Also, more effective enforcement should be conducted against those who light up in public areas.”
While raising prices may be more effective in deterring first-timers from picking up the habit, the hardcore smokers will just turn to contraband cigarettes to get their fix.
Mohamad said it was REALLY easy for cigarettes to be smuggled in to Malaysia, which is costing the government hundreds of millions of ringgit in unpaid taxes.
“Whenever I visit my constituents, almost all those who smoke have these smuggled brands which I have never heard of. I am amazed how easy it is to buy these contraband cigarettes,” he added.
Mohamad expressed concern and said that the authorities should practice more stringent measures against these smuggled cigarettes.
If you are a cigarette smoker, you better pray hard that the government decides against increasing prices!
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