PUTRAJAYA, April 22 — The 15 per cent import duty imposed on nicotine gum products should be lowered or total exemption provided as the products help smokers to quit smoking, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
He said the Health Ministry currently received many complaints from pharmacies that bring in nicotine gum products regarding the introduction of import duty and would raise the issue with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the treasury.
Last Monday, a media portal reported that the Customs Department would be imposing a 15 per cent import duty on every kilogramme of nicotine gum effective June 1. Nicotine gum products are medical products used by smokers to help them to quit smoking.
In a related development, 28,835 premises were inspected during the enforcement of smoking bans at public places from early January till March 15, Khairy said in a media conference after officiating the mQuit Masjid Quit Smoking Service Programme here today.
As of April 6, the Health Ministry issued 13,437 notices under the Control of Tobacco Regulations 2004 for smoking in banned areas and underaged smoking, he said.
On the mQUIT Masjid programme, Khairy said it started on April 8 and will be continued every Friday in the following months at 12 selected mosques, including the National Mosque, the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpur as well as Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque and Putra Mosque here.
Currently, 41 participants have signed up for the programme and although the number might be low, it was a positive sign as there were still those who came to the mosque to quit smoking, he added.