Study shows banning cigarettes will cause people to seek out cheaper illegal cigarettes

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A recent study found that Malaysians believe the illegal cigarette trade will increase exponentially if the government goes ahead with its plan to ban the sale of cigarettes to people born after 2005.

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In the study, two-thirds of smokers surveyed admitted to having smoked or currently smoking an illegal brand of cigarettes because of its low price. It also indicates that cheap contraband cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.

The findings come from a recent poll commissioned by DARE (Datametrics Research & Information CentreSdnBhd), a Malaysia-based think tank. It was conducted by Green Zebra, a leading market research company in Malaysia.

According to Managing Director and Co-Founder of Green Zebras Sdn Bhd, Steve Murphy, the survey has shown that there is a strong belief that banning next generation cigarette sales will only increase the market for cigarettes. illegal and will benefit criminal syndicates.

The investigation revealed that:

  • 94% of respondents believe that the low cost of illegal cigarettes compared to legal cigarettes is a key factor for smokers to occasionally try or regularly smoke illegal brands.
  • 50% of Malaysians also said that the easy availability of illegal cigarettes is a key factor in encouraging people to buy and smoke illegal products.
  • 90% of Malaysians believe that the illegal cigarette trade is a problem for Malaysia and want it to be stopped.
  • 6 in 10 respondents do not trust the government’s ability to curb black market activity, including the illegal cigarette trade, over the next year.

Malaysians understand that the illegal cigarette trade has a high socio-economic cost. Before proposing new measures that could, in fact, make the current situation worse, perhaps the government should first focus on enforcing its current laws to eradicate illegal cigarettes, which is a major and persistent problem. in Malaysia.

Managing Director and Co-Founder of Green Zebras Sdn Bhd Steve Murphy

The survey by Green Zebra was conducted online in March 2022 in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. It includes a sample of 1,000 Malaysian adults and is nationally representative of the general population by location, gender, race and age.

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