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I don’t smoke. But I find the government attempts to reduce smoking a bit hilarious. High taxes doesn’t seem to do it, now they’re slapping a minimum price: price floors and ceilings worked for rice and sugar, they’re only extending from experience. Cigarettes, being addictive, does not respond all to well with prices (see: price elasticity).

The Health Ministry is complaining that the price war is undercutting efforts to cut down smoking (yes, cigarette companies absorb much of the tax… honestly, they don’t hire a single economist?) But it’s not as if the government itself is not undercutting it’s own efforts. Ciggies are cheap and duty-free in Langkawi, Tioman and Labuan.

And every time I see a Tak Nak advertisement, I become just this much closer to smoking.

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