Saturday January 19, 2013
Cig makers face more cuts
By SARBAN SINGH
SEREMBAN: Tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes will be reduced effective June as the Government attempts to bring down the estimated 100,000 deaths caused due to smoking-related illnesses.
Tar content in each cigarette will be reduced from 20mg to 15mg while nicotine levels will be cut from 1.5mg to 1.3mg.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Government was bent on introducing new legislation this year because tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes sold here were too high.
“We will give the tobacco industry another two to three years to further cut the tar content from 15mg to 10mg and nicotine level from 1.3mg to 1mg,” he said.
The Star had, in November, reported that the ministry was proposing amendments to the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations (CTPR) 2004 to introduce tougher measures to discourage the people, particularly the young, from picking up the habit.
The ministry had then proposed cuts in nicotine levels from 1.5mg to 1.25mg per stick and tar from 20mg to 15mg. It wants these to be further reduced to 1mg (nicotine) and 10mg (tar) in due course.
However, the tobacco industry has requested that nicotine levels in cigarettes be reduced to 1.3mg and tar levels to 15mg from 2014 and to 1mg and 10mg, respectively, by 2018.
“I’ll make the necessary announcement in May and the tobacco industry will have to follow suit by June,” said Liow.
Under the proposed amendments to CTPR, the ministry is also proposing to have every cigarette imprinted with the words “Smoking is hazardous to health”.
Also on the cards are provisions to compel manufacturers to increase the size of pictorial health warnings on the effects of smoking from at least 40% currently to 50% of each packet.