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Cigarettes not going to be same starting next year

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KUALA LUMPUR  – A research firm says slow and gradual reduction in the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in cigarettes to allow smokers to steadily adapt to the change will be a better solution for healthier living.

OSK Research said in its research note that an abrupt reduction of the three elements in cigarettes would likely lead to two potential scenarios – smokers consuming more legal sticks to get their kick and smokers who smoke legal and duty-paid cigarettes switching to illicit smokes which boast higher tar and nicotine levels.

The illicit trade of cigarettes currently stands at 34.9 per cent.

“We think both scenarios defeat the purpose of promoting a healthier population,” OSK Research said.

In a news report, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said that the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide content in cigarettes sold in Malaysia would be lowered in Sept 2013 before being further reduced a year later.

OSK Research said it saw a challenging regulatory environment for the tobacco industry, especially after the general election.

“The government is looking to expand no-smoking zones in the country, although the most immediate regulatory risk could be the resumption of tobacco excise duty hikes come the 2014 Budget announcement,” it said. – Bernama