Thursday July 5, 2012
Cheap fags easy on wallet
By CHRISTOPHER TAN
IT is not too hard for one to get a packet of cheap cigarettes in Penang for as low as RM2.50 for a pack of 20 sticks.
You just need to ask for them at any roadside shop, coffee shop or sundry shop and chances are you might get them.
Cigarette brands such as John, Luffman, Ray and Tex are sold between RM2.50 and RM4 which are still far below the mandated minimum price of RM7 for a packet of 20 sticks.
As the price for a packet of cigarettes has been increasing over the years, smokers are opting for cheaper cigarettes.
A check by The Star revealed that these packets of cigarettes were not displayed in the open but only brought out upon request by customers.
A source said the taste of cheap cigarettes was almost similar to that of well-established brands.
“They are a hit among foreign workers because they are cheap.
“Besides being available at selected places, they are also sold by agents who are also hired to move around to sell them,” he said yesterday.
He added that the cheap cigarettes had been around for more than five years.
An agent, who sold the cigarettes, said he earned RM0.50 for every packet sold.
“It is a side-income for me as I still have my permanent job,” he said.
A convenience shop owner said an agent would visit the shop once a month to sell the cigarettes.
“I still have a few packets left which I want to sell off as soon as possible because
“I don’t want to sell these cheap cigarettes any more. It is against the law,” said the owner.
A smoker, who declined to be named, said he used to smoke branded cigarettes a few years ago but had switched to the cheaper ones as they were more affordable.
“It makes a lot of difference to us even if we are able to save only a few ringgit,” he said.