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Malaysia gets praise for attempt to get rid of tobacco
Published in Bikya Masr on 02 - 09 - 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is receiving some positive praise from the outside world over its continued efforts to reduce and ultimately end the sale of tobacco products in the country.
The New York Times has lauded Malaysia's resistance against attempts to use the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to weaken the country's ability to control tobacco.
In an editorial dated Aug 31, it expressed gratitude to Malaysia for heading off, at least temporarily, an American effort to weaken the ability of countries to impose stiff rules on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within their own borders.
"The Malaysian proposal to preserve that ability led to a stalemate at a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade meeting in Brunei last week and forced the deferral of the issue to future meetings," the editorial said.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and several other medical and patient advocacy groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, applauded the Malaysian proposal to completely "carve-out" tobacco from the TPPA, it added.
The TPPA, involving the United States and 11 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, is aimed at lowering tariffs and other barriers to commerce, it said, adding that one of the issues was now on whether tobacco should be included in such a treaty or be removed in favour of health considerations.
American trade officials should be siding with the public and those concerned about public health, and not with the manufacturers of products that are known to be lethal and highly addictive, said The New York Times.
Meanwhile, the Malaysia Singa-pore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association came under fire for objecting to the Malaysian Government's plan to ban open display of cigarette packs.
Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control President Molly Cheah chided the association in local media for holding the Government to ransom by opposing the ban.
"It is ludicrous for the association to suggest that a ban on cigarette packs display would encourage criminals to take advantage and steal and rob outlets.

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