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How the Malaysian tobacco industry exploits loopholes in pictorial health warnings
  1. Yen Lian Tan1,
  2. Kin Foong2
  1. 1Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Bangkok, Thailand
  2. 2National Poison Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
  1. Correspondence to Yen Lian Tan, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Thakolsuk Place, Room 2B, 115 Thoddamri Road, Nakornchairi Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand; yenlian{at}

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The Malaysian government ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, committing itself to implement strong tobacco control policies.

Pictorial health warnings (PHWs) were introduced with the enactment of the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations (CTPR) 2008.1 It stipulated that cigarette packs sold in Malaysia should have six rotating PHWs occupying 40% of the front and 60% of the back of the principal areas of each pack effective from 1 January 2009.

With the comprehensive ban of tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships in 2004,2 the tobacco industry has introduced innovative pack designs that are strategically displayed at points-of-sale. After the implementation of PHWs, a surveillance of the industry's marketing tactics revealed that they have continued to introduce cigarette packs in various designs and shapes to reduce the effects of health warnings by exploiting legal loopholes.

The main flaw …

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  • Funding This work was supported by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.