The government does not dismiss the possibility of banning the import and sale of cigarettes in the country altogether, but said serious consideration must be made on the implications of such moves.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pix) said the matter has to be discussed first, including at the Cabinet level, before a final decision could be made.
He was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) on whether the government has any plans to outright ban the import of cigarettes into the country.
“This matter is of course under our consideration, and this spirit of a smoke-free country is something that is also supported by international bodies like the World Health Organisation.
“As such, I thank you (Bung) for the support. But we have to consider every aspect before making a decision.
“And I feel this matter can be discussed at the appropriate forums, including in the cabinet,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.
Bung had suggested that the government ban the import of tobacco products and make the country a smoke-free nation, following up on the government’s move to ban smoking in all restaurants and eateries nationwide beginning the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Dzulkefly said to date, the ministry has issued a total of 20,351 warning notices to premises owners for failing to put up no-smoking signs since the no-smoking policy was enforced on Jan 1.
He added that a further 1,690 warnings were issued to individuals for smoking at eateries and restaurants.
Dzulkefly had previously said that the ministry would not take enforcement actions against those who fail to abide by the smoking ban, and would only issue warning notices for the first six months of implementation.