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An article published earlier this week on Malaysian news site, New Straits Times, said that the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani announced that the illicit cigarette trade in Malaysia is on the rise, as a result of the government raising cigarette prices via higher excise duties.

Such patterns have also been observed in relation to electronic cigarettes, in countries such as the US and Australia, where the products have been banned or over regulated.
Johari pointed out that the prices of such cigarettes are significantly cheaper, between 3RM to 5RM in comparison to 17RM for a regular pack, hence are easily afforded by everyone. However, he added, these smuggled products are riskier than legal ones, as not only is their tar and nicotine content unknown, but they may contain other toxic substances that are at higher levels than regulated cigarettes.

Such patterns have also been observed in relation to electronic cigarettes, in countries such as the US and Australia, where the products have been banned or over regulated. Many vapers who had been using the products for smoking cessation purposes, grew desperate and also resorted to purchasing the products on the black market where they are unregulated, hence possibly highly unsafe.

Endorsing vaping products could resolve this issue

Minister Johari concluded by encouraging smokers to make use of cessation aides such as the nicotine gum, and the nicotine patch to help them quit. There was no mention of electronic cigarettes, since these devices are still in the process of being regulated in Malaysia, a move that could dramatically change the situation in the country. In the UK where the products are not only approved, but also given out by Stop Smoking Services as part of a smoking cessation programs, the country is reporting the lowest number of smokers ever recorded.