PETALING JAYA: It’s a big thumbs up from consumer groups to the government’s decision to raise cigarette prices and ban smoking at all open-air restaurants.
Fomca senior vice-president Datuk Korisatan Karuppiah said these initiatives were “long overdue”.
“This is the right thing to do if we want to protect our children and younger generation from the bad effects of smoking.
“As parents, we don’t want our children and grandchildren growing up inhaling secondhand smoke or feeling normal seeing someone puffing away.
“Smokers are not my friends and I do not want to have anything to do with them,” he said when contacted.
Korisatan, who is former president of Malaysian Council For Tobacco Control, said that increasing cigarette price was the right thing to do as it had been proven by many researches that fewer people would light up when cigarette price increases.
He said he was happy that eight people, including an MP, were fined for smoking at the Parliament building on Tuesday after it was declared a smoke-free zone.
“The enforcement must be there to make the rules matter,” he said.
In pushing for a totally smoke-free environment, he said it was unnecessary for eateries or premises to have designated spaces for smokers to get their fix.
“Secondhand smoke will still be there and passive smokers are the ones most hurt.
“It is better for enforcement to put its foot down. There should be a total smoking ban.”
He also said that issues of contraband and smuggled cigarettes exist because of poor enforcement and corruption, which the government must work on after this.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said it was high time for Malaysia to chart its own destiny by implementing proper intervention.
“Higher cigarette prices will discourage buying. In some European countries, cigarettes are not publicly seen at any public counter.
“Over here, some proper government intervention is necessary without causing too much of uneasiness.
“I think we should make the purchase of cigarettes more difficult and the prices expensive enough to deter buying,” he said.
Stressing on the importance of strong enforcement, Nadzim said that the police should be included instead of relying only on the health or local authorities.
“Police presence is necessary especially when there are adamant or aggressive offenders.
“The government must be strong and determined to enforce the rules. Otherwise, we will not go anywhere.
“It is all about enforcement and also education, so that people are deterred from smoking from their younger days,” he added.
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