Display ban products at local council level is unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR, 8th May 2024 — The Malaysia Consumer Choice Center (MCCC), represented by Tarmizi Anuwar, has voiced concerns over the proposal by certain groups to implement display bans on tobacco products at the local council level, particularly by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). He argues that such measures would not only infringe upon consumer autonomy but also contradict the spirit of the Federal Constitution.

Speaking on behalf of the Consumer Choice Center, Tarmizi emphasized the importance of preserving consumer autonomy and access to information. “This idea of banning tobacco displays at the local council level is limiting the access of information to smokers, hindering their ability to make informed decisions about their lifestyle and health,” he said.

Highlighting the potential consequences of display bans, Tarmizi pointed out that such measures could curb product innovation and competition in the market. “”Display bans that hide prices not only obscure consumer choice but also distort competition in the market. When consumers cannot easily compare prices, it hampers the competitive landscape and undermines the principles of free and fair market dynamics. Transparency in pricing is essential for fostering healthy competition and empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions,” he explained.

Furthermore, Tarmizi raised concerns about the legality of enacting such bans at the local council level. He referenced Article 75 of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates that federal laws prevail over state laws in cases of inconsistency. “The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 does not include any clause to prohibit the display of tobacco products. Therefore, implementing display bans at the local government level would contradict federal law and be void,” he asserted.

He called for policymakers to reject the proposal to ban tobacco displays at the local council level, urging policymakers to prioritize consumer choice, access to information, and adherence to constitutional principles.

In addition, Tarmizi emphasized the importance of empowering consumers through education in harm reduction and awareness campaigns instead of resorting to restrictive regulatory measures like display bans. “We need to adopt an alternative that is much safer and proven effective for people who want to stop smoking. A study titled Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation written by Hartmann-Boyce, J et al. (2022) found that vaping helps people quit smoking. This systematic review of 78 studies involved a total of 22,052 participants and said there is definite evidence that electronic cigarettes with nicotine increase the quit rate compared to nicotine replacement therapy and moderate certainty evidence that they increase the quit rate compared to electronic cigarettes without nicotine,” he said.

He also highlighted that consumers equipped with knowledge are more likely to make conscious decisions about tobacco and vape products, ultimately reducing the need for heavy-handed regulatory interventions. “Education and awareness campaigns empower consumers to take control of their health and well-being, without sacrificing their freedom of choice,” he concluded.



More Posts

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Scroll to top