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Enforcement On Illicit Cigarettes Under Regulations Control Of Tobacco 2004

Introduction

Several offenses on the cigarette sold in the national market are generally identified. Among the frequently detected offense is no “health warning on cigarette packs” under Rule 15 Rules of tobacco control in 2004 and “selling cigarettes below the minimum price of” under Rule 8D same rules.

Those responsible for enforcing and implementing the Regulations Control of Tobacco are from the enforcement department of the Public Health Division,Ministry of Health Malaysia. Enforcement is done to curb the sale of cigarettes under the Minimum Price and Illegal Cigarettes on the market for the protection of public health and raise awareness of the public and traders about the provisions of the law under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.

The seriousness of the Ministry of Health in addressing this issue can be seen from the implementation of a series of enforcement operations and is named as “OPS CUCI” starting from 2010 until now. In the year 2013, from 2, 759 premises had been inspected throughout the country, a total of 157 stores and 122 outlets found were found guilty of selling cigarettes under the ‘Minimum Price’ and 35 stores were found selling illegal cigarettes.

A total of 122 businesses has been fined a minimum of RM 500.00 per person for the offense of selling cigarettes at a price below the minimum price of cigarettes. The total value of compound issued was RM 61,000.00. In addition, a total of 4,241 packets of cigarettes with a total market value of RM 12,723.00 was seized from businesses of similar offenses for selling cigarettes below the minimum price.

Interpretation Under Regulation 2 Regulations of Tobacco Control 2004

  1. Tobacco Products
    • Means tobacco, cigars or any other kind of tobacco, including tobacco mixtures for human use, excluding medical products under the control of the Poisons Act 1952 : Regulations Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984.
  2. Tobacco
    • Means any product from Tobacum or Nicotine leaves and other associated trees.
  3. Smoking
    • Means any product containing tobacco or part of the overall cut, shredded or manufactured or any derivative or substitute of tobacco rolled in single wrapping paper or more and can be used immediately for smoking
  4. Package
    • That is a rectangular-shaped box.

Types Of Offense On Cigarettes In The Market :

  1. Sales of cigarettes below the minimum price of RM 9.00 at the market
    • Due to the entry of illegal cigarettes brought in from foreign countries and from countries that do not pay excise taxes to the customs authorities. The number of cigarettes that many of dubious quality further increase health risks to smokers who buy it at a cheaper price and less than the minimum price set.
    • The offense under Regulation 8 C Regulations on Tobacco Products 2004 (amended 2011).
    • Offense to the dealer / seller / person that were committing it with a minimum value of RM 500.00.
    • If convicted in court, it is punishable by a fine not exceeding RM 10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
  2. Sales of cigarettes with no “pictorial health warning”
    • Most of the illegal cigarettes are sold without health warnings illustrated as an example WARNING:
        • Smoking Causes Neck Cancer
        • Cigarettes Causes Lung Cancer
        • Smoking Causes Mouth Cancer
        • Smoking Causes Gangrene
        • Cigarettes Cause Miscarriage
        • Smoking Causes Pre-Mature Baby
    • An offense under Rule 15 (1) of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 (amended 2008).
    • The offense can be compounded to the dealer / seller / person that were committing it with a minimum fine of RM 500.00.
    •  If convicted in court, it is punishable by a fine not exceeding RM 10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
  3. Things that are forbidden on the packaging or labeling of tobacco products.
    • The tobacco must not contain any false, misleading or deceptive messages or is likely or intended to create a false impression of the characteristics, health effects, hazards or other content of tobacco products.
    • Examples of terms, words or descriptions that are not allowed for creating misconceptions or fallacy:
        • “light”
        • “ultra light”
        • “mild”
        • “cool”
        • “extra”
        • “low tar”
        • “special”
        • “full flavor”
        • “premium”
        • “rich”
        • “famous”
        • “slim”
        • “Grade A”
    • An offense under Rule 15 (1) of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 (amended 2008).
    • The offense can be compounded to the dealer / seller / person that were committing it with a minimum value of RM 500.00.
    • If convicted in court it is punishable by a fine not exceeding RM 10,000.00 or to imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

Additional Information

Illegal cigarette trade is defined as “the production, import, purchase, sale or possession of tobacco products fail to comply with the legislation” (FATF 2012). Maybe people do not know that, if it is cheaper, it is more dangerous. In conclusion, doubled risk faced by smokers who smoked smuggled cigarettes, because the content of toxic chemicals was higher, particularly arsenic and cadmium. Arsenic is a chemical that is commonly used as a wood preservative, found three times higher in illegal cigarettes than usual. This is because the chemicals contained in smuggled cigarettes were actually not controlled and may be unknown.

Cadmium, a chemical used to make a battery that can cause cancer, damaging the kidneys and blood vessels lining the arteries were reported five times higher in smuggled cigarettes. Other factors that increase the risk to consumers is illegal cigarettes are manufactured at home and abroad illegally without quality control. Moreover, illegal cigarettes are also said to use a very low-grade tobacco and manufactured tobacco leaves waste.

Examples Of Offenses Done.

1

Photo 1: No health warning on the cigarette packs
(Source: Inspectorate Unit and the State Legislature, 2014).

2

Photo 2: Cigarette packs are sold under the minimum price
(Source: Inspectorate Unit and the State Legislature, 2014).

Sample Pictures Of Pictorial Health Warnings On Cigarettes

3 4

Photo 3: Sample pictures of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs.

Last Reviewed : 11 May 2017
Writer : Mohd. Sabri bin Redzuan
Accreditor : Mohamad Ridzuan bin Mohamad Salleh