CEO Morning Brief

Sundry Goods Merchants Against MoH's Tobacco 'generational Endgame' Move

Publish date: Thu, 30 Jun 2022, 12:31 PM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

KUALA LUMPUR (June 29): Local sundry goods merchants are against the move to introduce a tobacco product display ban, plain packaging and banning of the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to those born after 2005.

In a move touted as the “generational endgame” strategy, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last month revealed that Malaysia is studying these measures in line with the proposed Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which is expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat next month. This is part of a bigger plan to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products, including vapes, to people born after Jan 1, 2005.

However, Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia president Hong Chee Meng said banning the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to adults born after 2005, plain packaging and the product display ban will impact the industry.

“We have not had any engagement with the Ministry of Health (MoH) on these proposals. The proposed tobacco product display ban will add complexity to a currently straightforward business process," he said in a statement on Wednesday (June 29).

“We will need to make changes to the current display cabinets, which is a cost we must consider, particularly when the economy is sluggish and inflation is on the rise. It is not an ideal situation for businesses,” he added.

He also noted that retailers had already implemented the ban on sale to those under 18 years old.

“With the proposed ban on the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to adults born after 2005, retailers will have to check birthdates of even adults.

“We are concerned about the potential burden and liability of our members. The duty to implement the ban will fall on retailers. They will need to check the birthdate of every adult purchaser to determine whether they were born before or after 2005. In addition, this will make transactions longer and potentially lead to arguments with purchasers," he said.

Hong also argued that the move could lead to severe illicit cigarette trade, which is already severe with six out 10 sticks in the market being illegal cigarettes.

“If the MoH intends to stop people from smoking, the first action should be to stop illegal cigarettes. The ministry should ramp up enforcement with the specific power under their own Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 before introducing new policies that will only cause more burdens on legitimate businesses and further fuel the illicit cigarette trade in Malaysia,” he said.

Source: TheEdge - 30 Jun 2022

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