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Increase in illicit cigarette trade

11 Nov 2019. A recent report conducted by the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers found that nearly two in three cigarettes sold in Malaysia are illegal, reported malaymail.

The study is conducted three times a year and estimates that illegal cigarette sales have increased from 59.7 per cent between March and May 2019 to 64.6 per cent between June and August. The study was released by Japan Tobacco International Berhad (JTI Malaysia) and Cormac O’Rourke, JTI Malaysia’s managing director, said in a statement, “To think that any legitimate industry can be corroded to this extent to the benefit of criminal gangs casts Malaysia in a poor light on the international stage.”

The Illicit Cigarette Study takes place across all Malaysian states and found that a uniform increase had taken place, with Kuala Lumper seeing a 9.4 per cent increase in illicit cigarette presence. The study is conducted by examining the data found from discarded cigarette boxes which have been collected nationwide.

According to the report, O’Rourke acknowledged attempts to dispute the ICS data but asserted that no credible alternative had been found. He stated “This is a national crisis that needs to be addressed holistically by all the relevant institutions of the state.”