THE Health Ministry is looking at innovative ways, including the packaging of cigarette boxes to deter new smokers, its deputy minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said.
To a question from Hamim Samuri (BN-Ledang), she said the move involved the entire cigarette box depicting graphic warnings leaving only a small portion for the brand name.
She said such warnings were only effective against new smokers and not regular smokers.
To a question from Datuk Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong), Rosnah said there were no plans to implement the plain packaging for cigarettes, similar to that done in Australia.
“The ministry supports and welcomes the action of the Australian Government in implementing plain packaging as a move to reduce smoking.
“But we have no intention at present to follow suit owing to the dispute between the Australian Government and those from the tobacco industry at the international level,” she said.
She said comprehensive studies carried out by the Australian Government revealed that branding and packaging of tobacco products could influence and attract consumers to smoke, in particular the youths.
She said all tobacco products manufactured in Australia must be in plain packaging as of Oct 1 this year while the ruling for products sold would come into effect on Dec 1.
On a related issue, Rosnah said the Govern-ment had gazetted 21 non-smoking areas in a bid to discourage smoking.