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Author: Consumer Choice Center

Generasi Penamat dan cabaran penyeludupan rokok

PETALING JAYA: Pelbagai kempen bagi membantu mengatasi tabiat merokok telah dilaksanakan Kementerian Kesihatan sejak dahulu, namun dilihat tidak efektif dan gagal mencapai sasaran.

Buktinya dapat dilihat berdasarkan Tinjauan Kesihatan dan Morbiditi Kebangsaan (NHMS) 2019 yang menunjukkan bilangan perokok di Malaysia terus meningkat kepada 4.8 juta orang pada 2021 berbanding 4.7 juta pada 2011.

Malah, kekerapan merokok di negara ini berada pada tahap yang tinggi iaitu sebanyak 21.3 peratus.

Justeru, bagi menangani tabiat itu, Kabinet baru-baru ini meluluskan Rang Undang-Undang (RUU) kawalan tembakau dan merokok yang melarang aktiviti merokok dan pemilikan sebarang produk berkaitan rokok termasuk jenis elektronik bagi generasi muda yang lahir selepas 2007.

Polisi dikenali sebagai Generational End Game (Generasi Penamat) itu telah dibentang di Parlimen.

Namun, langkah drastik yang diambil itu mencetuskan seribu satu persoalan sehingga mendapat reaksi pelbagai pihak mengenai keberkesanannya dan kebolehlaksanaan terutama dalam beberapa situasi terkini negara ini.

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Milano Centrale è la seconda migliore stazione d’Europa

Il Consumer Choice Center, un gruppo di difesa dei consumatori, ha redatto la classificadelle migliori stazioni d’Europa, esaminando le 50 stazioni europee più grandi e classificandole in base all’esperienza dei passeggeri e a una serie di fattori, come l’affollamento, l’accessibilità e il numero di destinazioni.

Come spiega il CCC, l’indice complessivo dell’esperienza del passeggero comprende la disponibilità di servizi di ride-hailing, la concorrenza delle compagnie ferroviarie, i ristoranti e i punti di asporto in loco, negozi, il numero di destinazioni nazionali e internazionali, l’accessibilità per i disabili, l’esistenza di lounge di prima classe, il Wi-Fi e la comodità per accedere ai binari.

Zürich HB a Zurigo, in Svizzera, è al primo posto nella classifica delle migliori stazioni ferroviarie d’Europa. Anche se la stazione non ha il maggior numero di destinazioni internazionali e nazionali, ha un elevato numero di negozi/chioschi, ristoranti e punti di ristoro per allietare il viaggio.

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Generational End Game: An attack on personal liberty

RECENTLY, a polemic arose when Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wanted to table a Bill to ban tobacco and vaping for future generation of Malaysians in Parliament, which is in session until Aug 4.

Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) firmly disagrees with the proposed ban for many reasons. Primarily, we believe that such a ban will infringe on the rights of Malaysians to choose and make decisions regarding their own lifestyle.

The Government and Members of Parliament (MPs) should examine this matter holistically, especially matters involving consumer preferences.

All of us, smokers or non-smokers alike, have a fundamental interest in defending our personal and civic freedom so that we can live our lives as we think best rather than as what the Government tells or wants us to do.

In a free society, adults must be allowed to make choices concerning their lifestyle without excessive intervention.

Freedom to seek alternatives

CCC does not condone smoking. We understand the health risks and the impact of second hand smoke.

Long-term tobacco consumption or smoking can cause health disorders to the nervous system, lungs and heart, digestive system and even the human reproductive system.

Almost 99% of tobacco-related deaths are caused by smoking rather than from the use of nicotine in other forms. The Yorkshire Cancer Research says nicotine is not the cause of smoking-related deaths. In fact, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease are not caused by nicotine.

As a consequence, the idea of nicotine replacement or tobacco harm reduction has proven to help reduce the above risks. Stopping tobacco use with harm reduction products and technologies such as vape can also reduce the risk of getting or dying from cancer.

This is agreed by international organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) Euro Office which states that the complete replacement of burning tobacco with electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems is capable of reducing the exposure of consumers to a wide toxic range.

In addition, Public Health England also stated that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.

Consumer safety

In the Illegal Cigarette Survey (ICS) released by Nielsen in 2021, Malaysia ranked highest in the world for the existence of illegal cigarette syndicates and smuggling.

Meanwhile, according to a study by the Datametrics Research and Information Research Centre (DARE) entitled Clearing the Smoke: Reducing Tobacco Harm, the incidence of illicit tobacco trade is expected to surge by 61.7% from 58.4% in March 2022 if the Government pursues a “Generational End Game (GEG)” policy.

It is more worrying when this illegal trade is more harmful to consumers because the products sold in the market do not meet the local health regulations. In fact, some of them are also mixed with ingredients that are not suitable for human consumption.

Every user has the right to receive accurate information in making a decision to ensure what is best for him, including information on the importance of switching to vaping or alternatives to smoking.

Consumer rights in tobacco harm reduction

Banning tobacco and vaping will restrict the freedom of individuals to obtain alternatives, increase illegal trade as well as spark the re-use of cigarettes. Smoking addiction is a complex issue that needs to be addressed with more effective and creative public policies or strategies.

The Government should see the method of reducing the harmful effects of tobacco as one of the important approaches in reducing the number of smokers in Malaysia. This is especially when we see the trend of switching to vaping as a less harmful product has received a positive response among smokers in Malaysia.

Recognising the rights of consumers towards reducing the harms of tobacco will be able to both educate and provide Malaysian consumers with accurate information. Indirectly, it can provide consumers with knowledge about health risk reduction.

Originally published here

The “Fab Four” Sports Betting States

The Consumer Choice Center’s US Sports Betting Index recently conducted an audit of every state in terms of its sports betting affability. 

Below we reveal which states scored the highest, according to the latest report.

What Makes a Good Bookmaking State?

Before the groundbreaking litigation that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) of 1992, Nevada was the place you had to go if you wanted to make a legal sports bet in America.

But that all changed in 2018 and now you can wager legally in 30-plus states as well as the District of Columbia. Not all sports betting is created equal though, as some states allow you to register for an online account in the comfort of your living room while others mandate you must sign up at one of the state’s casinos.

Getting people off of their couches to travel to a destination they might not otherwise make just to register for an online sports betting account proved to be a step too far in Illinois and they wisely dispensed with the requirement shortly before March Madness this year.

The registrations swelled immediately in the Prairie State which should be a loud and clear signal to all other jurisdictions to do away with it if they want to maximize their revenue potential…and they all do.

Read the full text here

Dem Bericht zufolge befindet sich die Hälfte der 10 wichtigsten Bahnhöfe in Europa in Deutschland

Mit einem 9-Euro-Ticket und einem umfangreichen Fernverkehrsnetz ist Deutschland für seine Eisenbahn berühmt. Nach dem aktuellen europäischen Bahnhofsindex des Consumer Choice Center (CCC) gehören nun fünf Bahnhöfe in deutschen Städten zu den Top 10 in Europa.

Entdecken Sie die wichtigsten Bahnhöfe Europas

Der CCC hat die 50 größten Sender des Kontinents bewertet. Um die Punktzahl für jeden Bahnhof zu berechnen, vergab der CCC eine bestimmte Anzahl von Punkten für die jährliche Anzahl der Passagiere pro Bahnsteig, die Anzahl der Inlands- und Auslandsverbindungen, Zugangsstandards, Terminal-Lounges, Zugang zu Taxis und Internet sowie die Verfügbarkeit von Geschäfte und Restaurants.

Das Ranking einiger Sender sah in diesem Jahr einen starken Rückgang der Bewertungen einiger Sender. Nachdem der Leipziger Hauptbahnhof 2020 als bester Bahnhof in Deutschland und im vergangenen Jahr als bester europäischer Bahnhof ausgezeichnet wurde, rutschte er 2022 aus den Top Ten heraus, während London St. Pancras, Birmingham New Street und der Wiener Hauptbahnhof ebenfalls das Nachsehen hatten. hohe Positionen. Aufgrund der russischen Invasion in der Ukraine wurden die Bahnhöfe in Moskau und Sankt Petersburg nicht berücksichtigt.

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Why Gen Z Should Ditch ‘Virtue’ in Consumer Purchases and Embrace the Trader Principle

The Peter Principle is playing out in Americans’ purchasing decisions. Here’s why that’s creating social disharmony.

In 1969, Laurence J. Peter published “The Peter Principle,” which asserted that “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Now, although Dr. Peter claimed to be kidding, we often see the Peter Principle play out—productive employees will be promoted over time, taking on new roles and responsibilities which they are sometimes ill equipped to handle. According to one study, the data were clear: not all great salespeople make great sales managers.

Nevertheless, people like being promoted and tend to take pride in their positions, even when done poorly. If this is how we feel in relation to our employment patterns, perhaps the same can be true for our consumer habits, particularly since Dr. Peter asserted that his principle was “the key to an understanding of the whole structure of civilization.”

So, to shift from internal matters and production practices within an organization to external matters and consumption practices for a firm’s customer base, it seems the Peter Principle can still apply.

As our earning power increases, so too does our purchasing power, and we go from smaller simpler purchases to suit our needs (what groceries should I get for dinner tonight) to complex and bigger purchases to suit our wants (what Traeger grill should I get for the summer season). And given that we lack the expertise for truly knowing the worth of all our product purchases, we are guided by reviews, the news, and marketing messages.

Marketers promote value, or the perception of it, to consumers and change positioning statements and product features according to changing preferences. For instance, mayonnaise marketing campaigns used to focus on flavor, now they focus on nutrition—such as including avocado oil or emphasizing the presence of Omega-3. The recipe tweaks and promotion campaigns tell us we can all feel less guilty about the overuse of this sandwich spread (even though the avocado version isn’t really healthierand few of us know why Omega-3 matters).

Nevertheless, the more we can spend, the more options we want. And although consumers are more educated today than ever before, purchase decisions are becoming increasingly based on emotions—and marketers are leveraging this fact.

Consumers in advanced markets look for psychological attributes rather than primary ones; that is, feelings trump function. This is why people will pay big bucks for a Prada bag even though a Prada knockoff would likely suffice at a fraction of the price. Brands like Prada sell on the basis of exclusivity and esteem, which is why premier labels would rather destroy excess inventory than donate it.

Now all of this is not to say that if someone wants to spend a chunk of change on an expensive purse, they need to justify doing so—it is their money, they can do what they like. Consumers should maintain authority over their purchase decisions. However, consumers should also be educated about when the Peter Principle may be setting in, especially when basing their purchases according to a company’s purpose rather than its product offerings.

For example, take Patagonia patrons. By buying Patagonia, they are showing support for (allegedly) “the world’s most responsible company.” Patagonia is a company that cares for the environment and inclusivity so much so that it has even redirected a greater amount of its marketing resources towards forms of activism rather than the advertising of its products. It has even gone so far as to limit who it will sell to if the customer doesn’t “prioritize the planet.”

Its morality marketing has swooned well-off consumers and its success rates in sales have prompted others within the industry to follow suit by putting “the climate” before the company and its customers.

What is rather laughable though is that a truly environmentally friendly and inclusive business would be your community thrift store—selling what is already in existence and at a cost conducive to nearly every budget. But don’t even think about donating your used Patagonia to those in your local community, instead send it back to Patagonia to receive credit toward more of their products via the Worn Wear collection. Now, instead of getting a windbreaker vest for over $100, you can get a used one for a cool $69.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman would surely call Patagonia’s efforts for social responsibility a lucrative form of window-dressing, but it is more severe than that, particularly when consumers are ill-informed on the positions Patagonia is postulating.

For instance, Patagonia has denounced the use of PFAS despite incorporating this chemical compound in its own products as a moisture barrier for its durable water repellent product offerings. PFAS is found in many household items and although misuse and overuse of these ‘Forever Chemicals’ is problematic, prohibiting use of them in proper form is also problematic given the benefits they bring.

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THE COUNTERFACTUAL: Are ENDS addictive?

Republished from Clivebates.com with the consent of the author

The claim of addiction depends on what you mean by addiction and how the nicotine is delivered. WHO does not bother with such subtleties. There are two issues. 

First, what is meant by the word “addiction”? This term is often used very loosely and often with the intention of stigmatising “the addict”, However, it has a specific meaning that does not apply to all forms of nicotine use. 

E-cigarette use does not meet this definition for most users because nicotine itself isn’t that harmful and vaping just isn’t that harmful either. 

Second, it depends on the way it is delivered. The dependence-forming characteristics of nicotine vary according to how it is delivered to the body – how much and how fast it reaches the brain, and also whether there are other agents that add to the effect. It is quite likely that many smokers who have taken up vaping “transfer” their nicotine dependence to the new products while benefitting from the greatly reduced risk.

This issue was discussed in the paper in the American Journal of Public Health by fifteen past presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. 

Balfour, D. J. K., Benowitz, N. L., Colby, et al. (2021). Balancing Consideration of the Risks and Benefits of E-Cigarettes. American Journal of Public Health111(9), 1661–1672.

Written by Clive Bates

CCC joins coalition urging republicans to reject Klobuchar antitrust bill

Dear Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy,

We write in opposition to S. 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” legislation that would massively expand the size and scope of the federal government.

Despite what some politicians may claim, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust bill gives the Biden Administration vast new regulatory authority over American businesses, fails to address conservative censorship concerns and would make inflation worse for American families.

Conservatives have legitimate concerns over Big Tech’s targeting of conservative speech and the creeping influence of non-economic issues in the business decisions of America’s largest companies. In reaction to this problem, a few Republicans have co-sponsored the Klobuchar bill with the hope that it will help reduce discrimination against conservative voices online.

In reality, the bill would worsen these issues by forcing targeted companies into a “mother-may-I” relationship with the federal government. The institutional Left is in universal agreement about the effects the bill will have. The Center for American Progress endorsed the bill on the grounds that it will spur “much needed improvements in content moderation and technologies.”

Whatever so-called “improvements” that the left has in mind for content moderation will certainly not work out in favor of conservatives’ free speech. If conservatives are unhappy with the status quo, just imagine Big Tech targeting conservative speech on behalf of Biden bureaucrats.

S. 2992 outlaws a slew of routine business activity for companies with over $550 billion in market cap and 50 million monthly users. If a business runs afoul of these new government mandates, the government can levy a fine of up to 10 percent of the business’ revenue.

Supporters promise the bill will only apply to four or five American companies…for now. This bill opens the door for future government regulation based on the size of a company, a government cap on innovation and a permanent dial that
Democrats can use to trap more companies under the heavy hand of government control.

While supporters claim this is the first serious antitrust bill in nearly a century, S. 2992 hardly resembles antitrust law as traditionally understood. For almost 50 years, the consumer welfare standard has anchored American antitrust law. Antitrust enforcers generally do not act unless consumers are being harmed via tangible effects like higher prices, reduced innovation, or lower quality.

S. 2992 would push the U.S. towards a European-style approach, where the government picks economic winners and losers and targets politically disfavored companies with frivolous lawsuits. Bureaucrats win, consumers lose.

For policy and political reasons alike, it seems foolish for Republicans to help Democrats ram through such a sweeping regulatory bill as the midterms approach. Pocketbook issues like generation-high inflation and skyrocketing gas prices are top of mind for American families.

A recent Gallup poll shows 52 percent of Americans name inflation as their top issue – antitrust does not even rank. The last thing families and consumers need is a law that would restrict access to the generic products that they reach for in order to make ends meet.

Even some Democrats admit that S. 2992 will increase inflationary pressure on American families. One Democrat
aide blasted the bill as Sen. Klobuchar’s “pet project” with little political payoff, saying “We should be focused on items that will help consumers deal with rising costs…[and] nobody can figure

out why it would be a priority.” Another aide was quoted asking, “Does the Klobuchar bill reduce rising costs in the short term for consumers? No. So why would it be a focus between now and the election?”

The Klobuchar bill would grow the size and scope of government, worsen conservative censorship, and increase inflationary pressure on American families. Instead of addressing pocketbook issues, Sen. Klobuchar’s top priority is empowering Biden bureaucrats before Democrats lose control of Congress. Republicans should not throw Sen. Klobuchar a lifeline.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Robert H. Bork, Jr.

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer

Richard Rahn

Stephen Moore 
Economist

Marty Connors
Chair, Alabama Center-Right Coalition

Dick Patten
President, American Business Defense Council

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Steve Pociask
President/CEO, American Consumer Institute

Richard Manning
President, Americans for Limited Government

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Kevin Waterman
Chair, Annapolis Center Right Coalition Meeting

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis 
President, 60 Plus Association

Hannah Cox
Co-founder, BASEDPolitics

Ralph Benko
Chairman, The Capitalist League

Daniel J. Mitchell
Chairman, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeff Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Ashley Baker
Director of Policy, Committee for Justice

Curt Levey
President, Committee for Justice

James Edwards
Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Christopher Butler
Interim Director, Digital Liberty

John Tamny
Vice President, FreedomWorks

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Sal Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy, James Madison Institute

Caden Rosenbaum
Tech & Innovation Policy Analyst, Libertas Institute

Charles Sauer
President, Market Institute

Rodolfo E. Milani 
Miami Freedom Forum

Stephen Stepanek
Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party
President, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting

William O’Brien
Former Speaker, NH House of Representatives
Chairman, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting

Eric Peterson
Director, Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

Doug Kellogg
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform

Jonathan Small
President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Tom Hebert
Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Bryan Bashur
Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum

Karen Kerrigan
President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Maureen Blum
President, Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives LLC

Patrick Hedger
Executive Director, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Rusty Cannon
President, Utah Taxpayers Association

Casey Given
Executive Director, Young Voices

Cc: House Republican Conference 
Senate Republican Conference

Report: Tennessee’s online-only sports betting structure receives mid-pack grades nationally

Tennessee received mid-level marks for its legalization of sports betting, according to a recently released report, which says fewer restrictions would help the state curtail illegal gambling.

The Consumer Choice Center is an advocacy group that says it fights for “lifestyle freedom, innovative technologies, and smart regulation” and it analyzed how bettor-friendly sports betting marketplaces are in the 50 states.

Tennessee was in a three-way tie for fourth place along with Virginia and Rhode Island. The 14 states that ban sports betting completely, including neighboring states Alabama and Georgia, were at the bottom of the rankings.

Tennessee was penalized for its marketplace, which only allows online and not in-person betting. There are 12 independent sportsbooks taking bets in the Volunteer State and prop betting on collegiate sports is prohibited.

Read the full text here

June 2022

Want to know what the Consumer Choice Center team has been up to for the past month? Let’s go through some of our best moments together


European Railway Station Index 2022 is out!

Want to know which European cities offer the best experience for passengers traveling by train? We’ve got you covered. We looked at Europe’s 50 largest railway stations and ranked them in terms of passenger experience and a mix of factors ranging from how crowded platforms are and accessibility to the number of destinations. This year’s leader is Zurich HB followed by Frankfurt Main hbf and Munchen hbf. Make sure to read the full paper for more information on this!
READ MORE

Crossover episode between ConsEUmer podcast and Consumer Choice Radio

We had the hosts of ConsEUmer podcast and Consumer Choice Radio join their forces and deliver an amazing episode discussing G7 – politicians becoming jokers, Macron making a case for American oil and also giving an advice how tip in North America – very useful one for Europeans traveling across the atlantic. This also happens to be 80th episode of ConsEUmer podcast, give it a listen! 
LISTEN HERE

FDA’s Menthol Melee hosted by Yael

In response to the FDA’s proposed rules to outlaw both menthol cigarettes and all flavors in cigars, we hosted our own session, called the Menthol Melee. Yael brought together community organizers, law enforcement, researchers, and policy experts who talked about why the FDA’s proposed bans on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes will do more harm than good, emphasizing the impact these bans will have on minority communities, interactions between police and citizens, illicit markets and safety, public health, and more. If you haven’t already, make sure to watch the full video!
WATCH HERE

Instead of embracing harm reduction, Canada is taking a step in the wrong direction

Ottawa is not only targeting vape flavours but also scaling up taxation. Targeting vaping with flavour bans and high taxation will certainly discourage people from vaping but it will also encourage some former smokers to go back to cigarettes and keep some current smokers from switching to vaping. Vaping is an effective harm reduction tool and should be incorporated into any plans of achieving a smoke-free society, as has already been done in the United Kingdom.
READ HERE

War-induced food crisis in Europe could serve as a good example for the US

The European Union’s ambitious Farm to fork strategy, among others aiming to reduce farmland by 10 percent, and cut pesticide use in half, has been put on hold due to war-induced food crisis, with Macron making it clear that now is not a good time for such drastic changes. Lawmakers in the United States have, in the past, attempted to copy European Union food regulations, but hopefully, the current European crisis will serve as a good example of why this is not such good of an idea for a country that has already fallen behind China and India on the worldwide scale of food production.
READ MORE

Not in my backyard mentality in crypto policy is a no-go!

In this blogpost, Yael points out everything that is wrong with the bill awaiting its fate in the Senate, that would impose a two-year moratorium on crypto mining permits, and launch an expansive environmental review. In times of such high inflation and having people who are locked out of the traditional finance and banking sector, their choices will become even more limited.
READ HERE
Thank you for your attention, as you can see it’s been quite a productive month! We have a lot of projects in progress, so make sure to follow our social mediato be the first to know about them!
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