The government recent tax hike on the so-called "legal cigarettes" may seem like a good initiative to stop Malaysians from smoking huh! Parents, teachers and some NGOs are happy with the excise increases which will make cigarettes less affordable to Malaysians especially the youth who are still schooling...or so they thought. Little did they know that the tax hike on cigarettes is actually a blessing in disguise for some unscrupulous people who make a fortune at the expense of other people's health and future.
Heard of Illicit Cigarettes? Probably not if you are not a smoker. But believe me that the recent tax hike imposed on legal cigarettes will soon let more and more smokers to know what this illicit cigarettes are all about. Surveys have shown that most smokers do not just quit smoking because of tax hikes. In fact smokers will find other alternative to satiate their addiction for nicotine and tar-and that's when illicit cigarettes come into the big picture. It's more shocking to know that these illicit cigarettes are easily available to youth especially students.
Illegal cigarettes suppliers know a golden opportunity when they see one. And the recent price hike for taxed cigarettes sticks opens up more opportunity for their lucrative illicit cigarette trade. Although legal cigarettes have been continuously made less affordable in Malaysia, it is it the illegal cigarettes that has become more and more widely available due to its unbelievable price of RM2 to RM3.50 per pack. In other words, it means that students can easily afford to buy a pack of cigarettes every single day at such a low price. Goodness...imagine how easily their health can be decayed...
When there's a demand, there will be people supplying these illegal sticks fro them to puff! And who will be delivering illicit cigarettes to their young customers in schools? Students themselves of course. This means students who are supposed to go to school to study, will be smuggling illicit cigarettes to their fellow students. And who provides these young offenders the supply of illicit cigarettes to smuggle into their respective schools? Chances is that the masterminds are triads that are heavily involved in organized crime. Now think about it...if they can peddle illicit cigarettes...that means they can easily smuggle drugs into schools as well. Horrifying, isn't it?
Something has to be done by everyone to ensure that illicit cigarettes which is accessible to youth, especially students, must be curbed immediately. Authorities must draw up concrete, effective plan to stop illicit cigarettes trade or else we would be seeing our future generations ending up with various diseases...worse still...they will be involved in drugs, gangsterism and even organized crime. It's time for us to "light" them up!