Kuala Lumpur, 19 January 2018 – British American Tobacco Malaysia shares the concern voiced by the Minister of Health that more than half of the country being flooded with illegal cigarettes is a very worrying situation. The fact that illegal cigarettes have increased drastically despite the ban on small packs in 2010, shows that enforcement alone will not solve this alarming problem and proves that smoking initiation has been due to illegal cigarettes, not small packs.
The problem has grown too big to rely on enforcement alone so the small pack proposal comes from an alternate perspective to address the demand side of the issue. If there are new robust ideas on how to eradicate the black market speedily and effectively, we hope that it will be put forth for consideration because clearly, the cigarette black market growth has outpaced all enforcement and education efforts. While anti-smoking awareness is crucial to ensure awareness on the health risks of smoking especially among youths and cessation programs are important to help smokers who want to quit, there remains a large number of smokers who choose to continue smoking and many whom have unfortunately chosen illegal cigarettes.
We therefore view with concern that our intention in putting forth support for a pragmatic measure to merely provide a legal alternative to illegal cigarettes with the aim of reducing the staggering volume of illegal cigarettes has been very much taken out of context. We categorically refute the unfounded allegation that small packs of cigarettes proposed by the industry is to increase the number of smokers in the country. While we respect the fact that there would be varying views on the proposed reintroduction of small packs ranging from supportive to strong opposing views, we strongly object to false allegations being made against the intent of the industry in supporting the reintroduction of small packs. It must be stressed that it is the very sizeable presence of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia that is the main factor frustrating and undermining the health agenda in Malaysia.
British American Tobacco Malaysia holds strongly to the principle that our business is not about persuading people to smoke and have stated continuously that smoking should only be for adults who are aware of the risks.
About British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad
British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (British American Tobacco Malaysia) emerged on 3rd November 1999 from the merger of Rothmans of Pall Mall (Malaysia) Berhad and Malaysian Tobacco Company Berhad. These two long established tobacco companies brought with the merger, experience and an unrivalled portfolio of highly successful international brands to create the largest tobacco company in the country.
British American Tobacco Malaysia markets high quality tobacco products designed to meet diverse consumer preferences. Its brand portfolio includes well-established international names like DUNHILL, KENT, PALL MALL and PETER STUYVESANT. British American Tobacco Malaysia has about 668 employees who are involved in the full spectrum of the tobacco industry, from processing to manufacturing, and marketing to distribution.
British American Tobacco Malaysia is part of the British American Tobacco group, which is the world’s most international tobacco group and the second largest stock market listed tobacco group by global market share.
For more information, please contact British American Tobacco Malaysia:
Fairuz Helmi, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at 03-7491 7100 or Fairuz_Helmi@bat.com
Prianka Krishnamurthy, Corporate Affairs Manager at 03-7491 3773 or Prianka_Krishnamurthy@bat.com