Ban on sale of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 from June 1 next year

KUALA LUMPUR: The sale of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 sticks will be prohibited effective June 1 next year.Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow  Tiong Lai said that in line with the decision, cigarette companies had been given seven months from now until May 31 next year to dispose off their stocks of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 sticks in the market.

“The government  will not entertain any  appeal on this matter and the Health Ministry will enforce the ban  fully on the manufacture and sale of cigarette packets containing less than 20 sticks beginning June 1, 2010,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the decision had been agreed upon by all the cigarette companies and the government was thankful for the support and cooperation rendered by these companies.

“The ban on the manufacture and sale of cigarette packets containing less than 20 cigarettes had actually been gazetted on Sept 23, 2004 under the Tobacco Products Control Regulations 2004, however, its enforcement had been postponed after the government considered the appeals by the cigarette companies,” he said.

Liow said that following the enforcement of the ban, anyone found guilty of violating the regulation was liable to a fine of not more than RM10,000 or imprisonment for a period of not more than two years.

He said the ban was also in line with the recommendation of the Framework Convention On Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The ban on the sale of cigarettes in small packets was aimed at reducing the capability of children  and  youths  to buy cigarettes  and  start the unhealthy habit,” he added. — Bernama

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