Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Expensive Smokes

BAT brands in Malaysia saw an increase of RM1.50 for a pack of 20s from November 05, 2014. Five days later, Philip Morris and JT International also followed suit and raised all their prices of all their brands by the same quantum.
This move was ostensibly to offset the 12% increase in excise duty on November 01 as well as to sustain earnings in anticipation of lower sales volume. It is interesting to note that the hike was made after the Budget 2015 announcement which is rather unusual.
And so, Dunhill, the country’s No. 1 brand is now RM13.50. Also other premium brands such as Marlboro, Salem and Mevius.
As far as I am concerned, these ciggie manufacturers are just being greedy!
The Edge Financial Daily (November 10, 2014, p 4) mentioned that the current estimated legal cigarette volume is 12 to 13 billion sticks a year. Contraband cigarettes constitute about eight to nine billion sticks a year. Looking at the sheer magnitude of the numbers, it would seem there is an awful lot of Malaysians who have a death wish!
Cigarette prices have been steadily rising. I reckon smokers don’t care if prices continue to shoot upward – they will persist with their smoking habit no matter what! They are hooked to these cancer sticks – probably until they give their last gasping breath – and methinks they do enjoy smoking their lives away. Maybe to these smokers, life is cheap!  

I am reminded of what Ian Fleming (the guy who wrote “Goldfinger”, the seventh novel in the James Bond series) said about smoking. “Smoking I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behavior and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smoldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils?”
I daresay Fleming is right!
On Saturday afternoon, Sunway University played host to a Division D workshop on “Mentoring”. I don’t normally write about these Toastmasters events but this one is special because the facilitator was LeAnn Tang – a rare Toastmaster, a treasure, a gem. In fact, Sunway University Toastmasters Club even decided to fully sponsor members attending this workshop.


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