LABIS: Coffeeshop owners and cigarette companies have asked for a year's grace to remove cigarette advertisements from their premises and from billboards.
They made the appeal through the Malaysian Coffeeshops Association and the Confederation of Tobacco Manufacturers.
They said the removal of the advertisements, especially from the billboards, would incur a lot of money, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
We have not discussed the appeal yet as we would have to check their claim on the costs, he said after visiting the Labis Health Centre yesterday.
The appeal came after Government banned advertisement and sponsorship of tobacco products under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 (Food Act 1983) which was gazetted on Sept 23.
The new regulations also affect the sponsorship of major sporting events such as Formula 1 and football matches.
Football organisers have been given until Dec 31 to comply and the Sepang International Circuit has until Dec 31 next year.
On another matter, Dr Chua said there is no proposal to the Finance Ministry to stop the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products at duty-free outlets, including at airports.
Yes, we discourage people from smoking but we have not asked the Finance Ministry to ban the sale of cigarettes at duty-free shops, he said, adding there was no rationale in asking the Government to stop the sales of cigarettes, especially at duty-free outlets at the airports.
So, I cannot see any rational for us to stop them from buying cigarettes or liquor, he added, commenting on a recent report in The Star that there may no longer be tax-free cigarettes sold at duty-free shops.
The report, quoting Health Ministry disease control division deputy director Dr Abdul Rasid Kasari, said the move was to ensure there was no source of cheap cigarettes in the country as part of the governments effort to snuff out the smoking habit.
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