Friday March 16, 2012
Plain packs for fags proposed
GEORGE TOWN: Plain packaging for cigarette boxes, a swift ban on display and promotion of tobacco products at points of sale and an increase in cigarette taxes and prices are among the recommendations of the first International Tobacco Control (ITC) Malaysia National Report.
The report, which evaluates the effectiveness of anti-smoking policies in the country from 2005 to 2009, was released yesterday.
ICT Malaysia Survey Team principal investigator Assoc Prof Dr Maizurah Omar said enforcement and education remained the challenges in its fight against the tobacco epidemic.
“Tobacco continues to be marketed through sport events, the entertainment media and in stores,” Dr Maizurah said at the launch of the report at Universiti Sains Malaysia here.
Quoting the report, she said pictorial health warnings on cigarette boxes had been effective in increasing awareness on smoking hazards.
“The graphic warning labels on the pack should be increased in size while the images should be changed frequently to grab attention,” she suggested.
“Among Malaysian adult smokers, 84% think smoking is ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ while 88% regret having taken up smoking.
“A total of 94% of adult smokers think people dearest to them should not smoke,” Dr Maizurah said.
The report recommends stronger enforcement in air-conditioned workplaces and the smoking ban should be extended to all indoor workplaces.
It also recommends a strengthening of school programmes to educate the youth on the harms of smoking and benefits of quitting.