PENANG: The rampant sale of cigarettes to children is nullifying the Health Ministry’s efforts to curb smoking.
Clearinghouse for Tobacco Control co-ordinator Dr Rahmat Awang said children under the age of 18 could buy cigarettes from retail outlets.
“This clearly shows that outlet owners are putting profit before good business ethnics,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
He said the owners should be punished for flouting the law.
Dr Rahmat said tobacco companies had taken action to abide by the ministry’s intention to ban all forms of tobacco and tobacco product advertisements.
“Most tobacco advertisements on billboards in Penang were taken down at the beginning of the year but posters are still seen at every conceivable place in retail outlets,” he said.
The posters, he added, were even pasted blatantly on racks displaying titbits and snacks.
He said this undermined the ministry’s efforts to educate children on the dangers of smoking in line with its five-year RM100mil anti-smoking campaign.