KUALA LUMPUR: After the no lighting up rule at eateries and Parliament, smokers will have to pay more when new cigarette prices are introduced in about three weeks.
This move comes as part of the government’s bid to clamp down on smoking, with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad saying that the price increase is in line with the recent implementation of the Sales and Service Tax (SST).
“Based on Rule 8A (2B) under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004, the prices of all tobacco products must be raised when there is an increase in tax.
“The SST will cause the prices of all tobacco products including cigarettes to increase. For that reason, under this regulation, the current retail price needs to be increased.
“The Health Ministry is working to coordinate the approval of the new prices within three weeks. The new price will be increased from the previous approved rate,” he told reporters in Parliament here yesterday.
It is learnt that manufacturers were given three weeks to come up with a proposal on what should be the new increased price for their respective tobacco products.
For example, if the previous approved rate was RM17 for cigarette Brand A, then the new price must be set at more than that.
The ministry is not coming up with the new prices and will instead accordingly approve the manufacturers’ proposal.
Currently, the price of tobacco products on the market, including cigarettes, varied according to brand and types, said Dr Dzulkefly.
The prices, he said, were set according to the price applied for by the manufacturers and that approved by the government.
He said there would not be a standard price for cigarette sales, adding that the prices would still vary according to those approved for each manufacturer.
On Monday, Dr Dzulkefly had declared the Parliament a smoke-free zone. On the same day, eight people, including an MP, were issued compounds for smoking.
The ministry also recently declared all eateries, including open-air restaurants and street food stalls, as no-smoking zones effective Jan 1.
At the same press conference, Dr Dzulkefly announced that the minimum age to buy alcohol was raised from 18 to 21 yesterday.
There will also be new standards, including requiring vendors to display the notice “Drinking Alcohol Can Endanger Health” and a sign on the new age limit as well as for compounded hard liquor (CHL) products to be only sold in glass bottles with a minimal 700ml volume.
All alcoholic beverages for sale will also have to be placed in different cabinets from the other items.
The new standards were aimed at controlling the safety and quality of the products and ensuring that manufacturers provided accurate information to consumers, said Dr Dzulkefly.
This was in response to the methanol poisoning case which claimed more than 30 lives due to drinking adulterated alcohol, he added.
“We are giving sellers between three and six months to comply with the new standards,” he said.