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Tobacco industry tangos with descriptor ban in Malaysia
  1. Yen Lian Tan1,
  2. Kin Foong2
  1. 1Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Bangkok, Thailand
  2. 2National Poison Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia
  1. Correspondence to Yen Lian Tan, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Thakolsuk Place, Room 2 B, 115 Thoddamri Road, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand; yenlian{at}

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Malaysia's 2008 Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations (CTPR)1 prohibit use of misleading information or terms on cigarette packages. This measure marks another major milestone in Malaysian public health and tobacco control policy, and means. Malaysia joins the more than 50 countries to have banned use of misleading ‘light’ and ‘mild’ descriptors.2 Tobacco products manufactured in Malaysia now meet the regulatory requirements of export destinations, including Australia, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.3

To monitor implementation of the new regulations, we reviewed flagship brands from the three major tobacco companies in Malaysia (British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris (PM) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI)), which we had collected since 2008 as part of an ongoing monitoring and surveillance programme. We analysed pack designs pre and post implementation.

The new regulations came into effect in 2009 and prohibited use of words such as ‘light’, ‘ultra light’, ‘mild’, ‘cool’, ‘extra’, ‘low tar’, ‘special’, ‘full flavour’, ‘premium’, ‘slim’.1 The tobacco industry responded to the policy change by incorporating new words in their brand names and overall pack livery. These included ‘Kent Futura’, ‘Kent Silver Neo’, ‘Kent Nanotek’, ‘Salem Elite’, ‘Salem Nova’, ‘Salem Seasons’ and others (figure 1).

Figure 1

A …

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  • Contributors YLT and KF designed the study and analysed the cigarette packages. YLT drafted the initial manuscript. KF reviewed and contributed to the discussion of the paper.

  • Competing interests None.

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