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Thursday, April 28, 2011

How Chua Jui Meng made RM11 million from cigarette advertising

Chua Jui Meng was Malaysia’s Minister of Health for nine years from May 1995 to March 2004. In 1995, Malaysia officially banned cigarette advertising. However, the law was not enforced until 2003. That ‘grace period’ cost the cigarette companies RM11 million, which was collected on behalf of the MCA but went straight into Chua Jui Meng’s pocket. MCA received nothing, poor thing.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

In Malaysia, the displaying of cigarette packets in advertisements with a general warning on long-time smoking that was enforced since June 1976 has been banned since 1995.

However, this has not stopped tobacco companies from advertising their products. There are also restrictions on tobacco advertising after the ban of displaying of cigarette packaging, print media advertising is restricted to only one page and advertising on television should not be more than 15 seconds. They have found ways to continue to build their brands by using brand names for a bistro and cybercafes such as Benson & Hedges Bistro and Sampoerna A International Cyberworld, for stationery, accessories, clothing like Dunhill, Marlboro Classics, Davidoff, Perilly's, Pall Mall, John Player Specials, Winfield and Winston. Holiday tours like Mild Seven Seafarers Club, Peter Stuyvesant Travel and Tours, Kent Holidays and Salem Holidays and even in the sponsorship of concerts and entertainment events.

All of these are indirect advertising strategies employed by tobacco companies. Tobacco advertising is continued without displaying cigarette packaging until January 2003, when the Malaysian federal government has even banned such indirect advertising of tobacco brands, except in certain establishments licensed to sell tobacco products. Formula One Grand Prix and other sporting events are still allowed to use tobacco sponsorship.

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World Smoking Health. 1984 Summer;9(2):27-30.
Smoking in Malaysia: promotion and control.
Soon Kee Teoh.
Abstract


This discussion of the promotion and control of smoking in Malaysia covers: tobacco cultivation; cigarette manufacture, advertising, and smoking; action against smoking; smoking in public; price increases; and future targets. About 62,000 families (120,000 people) of Malaysia's 14 million population are involved in tobacco farming, and 360 independent curers employ about 25,000 workers. Tobacco output has increased from 1.82 million kilograms in 1970 to a peak of 9.4 million kilograms in 1982, worth $38 million.

Tobacco manufacturers have direct interest in tobacco growing. 60% of the tobacco required for cigarette manufacturing is locally produced and is expected to increase to 65-70% by 1985. The industry, unable to deny the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, is now exploiting the economy of the tobacco farmers to justify their business and to influence the government from taking any action against smoking.

The government still provides technical expertise, guarantees purchase of tobacco, and provides almost 75% of the fertilizers used. There are 7 cigarette manufacturing companies. Cigarette sales in 1982 totaled nearly $460 million. The government received over $210 million or 47% of the total sales in various forms of taxes, a factor which influenced government handling of the smoking issue. Cigarettes were the most advertised product in 1981 when $9 million was spent.

In 1982, all cigarette ads were banned from television and radio and in all government publications. The government stated that the revenue could be replaced. The number of cigarette smokers increased from 5 to 7% over the last decade. Recent studies of secondary school children showed a smoking incidence of about 20%; about half were habitual smokers and about 1% had smoked for over 3 years. Except for elderly villagers, few women smoke.

After 7 years of lobbying by the Malaysian Medical Association and the Ministry of Health, the Cabinet approved legislation in 1977 requiring all cigarette packets to include a health warning. New antismoking measures were taken, culminating in a 19-point federal government directive prohibiting government employees from smoking in government offices, and at meeting.

Targets for the future include: banning all cigarette advertisements, or at least plugging loopholes on cigarette advertising; stopping all cigarette sponsorship of sports events; publishing tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide levels; expanding nonsmoking areas in public places; and making greater efforts in health education.

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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Malaysia bans tobacco ads

Malaysia is to ban all tobacco advertising from next year, the Ministry of Health has announced.

However, sports such as Formula One - which rely heavily on sponsorship from cigarette companies - have been granted a temporary exemption.

Some sports have won a temporary exemption.

"The Cabinet meeting held last week decided to ban all forms of promotions on cigarette brand names in Malaysia effective from 1 January next year," Health Minister Chua Jui Meng told the official Bernama news agency on Tuesday.

But "further discussions" were necessary to discuss implications on soccer and the Malaysian leg of the Formula One car racing competition, he added. – BBC

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