Gov't commited to plain packaging for tobacco products: Minister

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is committed to implementing plain packaging for tobacco products, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said in view of World No Tobacco Day that is celebrated globally on May 31, Malaysia is committed to supporting this year's theme of "Get Ready for Plain Packaging".

"This theme is apt in preventing society from being tempted by the physical appearance, colour and tobacco odour as it brings health implications. These attractions give the wrong perception and divert from the actual fact of the negative effects smoking has on health especially to youth and children," he said in a statement today.

It is estimated that 20,000 Malaysians die each year from smoking related complications, and to date there are 5 million smokers in Malaysia, 43% of this number are men.

"The Health Ministry has targeted to bring down smoking prevalence by 30% by 2025 and head towards 'End Game of Tobacco' by 2045 where the prevalence will be lesser than 5%. This aim will be achieved through programmes organised through the "Smoke Free Generation" that targets those born from 2009 onwards," he added.

The Ministry has also taken steps to strengthen quit smoking services by collaborating with the private sector.

"This service called 'Quit Smoking mQuit Services' or 'mQuit Services' aims to enhance the outreach of this service to the people. Now, they can get quit smoking services not just from government facilities but recognised private facilities as well," he said.