Yeah, I’m talking about tobacco! I was watching this expose on cigarettes in an episode of VICE on HBO and realized that the place they’re talking about (Indonesia) could very well be in Malaysia! I’ve actually spent a couple of years in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and the trade in illegal cigarettes there is really bad.
It’s causing a lot of young kids to smoke…just like in the documentary, children as young as 6 years old are starting to smoke on a daily basis and no one stops them coz illegal cigarettes are not regulated! A lot of these cigarettes are sold by vendors with no operating licence anyway so they don’t care who they sell to.
Small children can afford the price of these illegal cigarettes since they’re so cheap compared to the premium legal brands. This causes health problems as well as social problems. The Ministry of Health’s Dr. Chong has also talked in length about the danger of kretek (clove) cigarettes in this New Straits Times article.
The predominant brand there at the time is JOHN (RM 2.50) but there are others like GG, Manchester, Canyon, Luffman etc. It’s usually sold by immigrants and those cigarettes tastes nasty. I was in a facility at the time and this was all that they could get.
I think I did more damage to my lungs in that time than ever before. These illegal cigarettes are not made to the exact specifications of the premium legal brands like Marlboro, Dunhill etc and some of them, I hear, are scraps of tobacco and other detritus just packaged together and sold as is – caveat emptor!
Any pack of cigarettes that is sold below RM 7 is illegal. That is the minimum price set by the government and crime syndicates brings in these illegal cigarettes for sale via various points around Malaysia. I know that Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a large distribution center and this leads to a lot of illegal activity, gangs, and the revenue from this funds a huge criminal enterprise and there’s an article on NST that ties the illegal cigarette trade as a smokescreen for gangs.
Crime syndicates nowadays rely on a lot of revenue streams and besides the classic triad of prostitution, drugs and racketeering, the “lower risk high reward” items are still illegal alcohol and cigarettes (besides gambling) which can really bring a lot of harm to society. I come from a small town with a large gang problem (which was helped somewhat with the original Operasi Cantas Kenyalang) so I know first hand what crime syndicates will do to a town.
I’ve never the urge to purchase illegal cigarettes as they taste foul but I know some people do it coz of cost concerns. However, there’s a nationwide crackdown on illegal cigarettes now and not just retailers, but consumers i.e. YOU can go to jail if you’re caught buying illegal cigarettes.
Don’t support criminal enterprises – just like I never buy illegal lottery tickets (there’s the risk of not getting returns) I don’t ever buy illegal cigarette brands like JOHN, GG, Manchester, Canyon, Luffman etc. It’s not just coz they taste bad but smokers can be jailed up to 2 years and/or fined RM 10,000 if caught in possession of illegal cigarettes.
I do it all the time. It’s quite paradoxical since I imposed a strict no-smoking rule in my studio apartment – I step out to the balcony if I feel like I need a nicotine infusion instead. However, I do smoke in my car and I usually have to leave the window down while driving to make the smell dissipate.
This creates more problems in itself since the haze and pollution in KL, combined with the emission from other vehicle exhausts enters your car.
Well you know how bad it can be but first let me tell you about this interesting workshop I attended.
It had me smelling ammonia voluntarily.
Haha. Read on.
It was the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care event held at A Cut Above. The academy actually has a very interesting project by its students. Check it out:
It’s completely fictional of course, and it’s not Photoshopped – everything is done on set and photographed. I thought it was quite intriguing.
Back to the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range, they have six new products from the huge Plasmacluster Ion Generator to progressively more portable devices which you can fit on your desk, car and even your own body (Mobile Ion Generator) which you can hang on your neck via a lanyard.
Left to right: Plasmacluster Ion Generator – perfect for coverage up to 10m2 and you can tilt it and put it anywhere you want. Bedside Ion Generator – get quality sleep with 25,000 ions/cc. It also helps retain skin and hair moisture! It’s the tall device beside the black Plasmacluster Ion Generator. Desktop Ion Generator with Humidifying Function – this one comes with a water tank so it’ll release additional moisture. It can use a USB or AC adapter – well suited to your office or home desk I reckon. Ion Generator for Cars – this is what I’m using! It connects to the cigarette lighter socket in your car and deodorizes 30% faster when you boost it to Turbo mode. No more lingering tobacco smell! Mobile Ion Generator – this baby is small but powerful. It uses AC, USB or even a lithium ion battery and works for 4 hours! Hair Conditioning Dryer – moisturizes hair and removes static electricity. It also keeps moisture in and split ends out. Some discerning customers bring their own to hair salons!
The basics behind all this is explained to us by Mr Chew, which I found rather interesting. The bit that really caught my attention is the fact that people are naturally attracted to high ion concentration places in nature like waterfalls coz they induce serotonin production!
You know how much I love talking about serotonin. Heh.
Anyway, the principles behind Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators has been refined since 2000 to the device they have today which is capable of producing 25,000 ions/cc!
This is important as research has shown that cities like KL and other urban areas has only about 300 positively charged ions/cc and 100 negatively charged ions/cc while the nature which our healthier ancestors lived in has 4,000 positive and negative charged ions/cc. This is still evident in places like forests nowadays but we all know that’s a dwindling commodity.
Cheesie’s hair being violated. Demonstration of Cheesie’s hair after the hairdryer treatment.
The entire range of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators is meant to restore that balance…and improve on it! Plasmacluster Ion Technology releases the very same ions that occurs in nature, which is then bonded with water molecules and delivered all over the place. Thus it not only produces massive amounts of ions, but also hydrates the skin and hair!
The ions turns into hydroxide when it comes into contact with contaminants, which effectively destroys it. It also removed bacteria, viruses, allergens, mold, odors and other pollutants and contaminants. It’s been tested and proven by various institutions around the world – from the US to Japan.
This is a perfect example which I luckily managed to film. Mr Chew demonstrated the effectiveness of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology by soaking a tissue with pure ammonia and asking if anyone wants to smell it.
I naturally volunteered! :D
I smelled the tissue soaked with ammonia tentatively…
It smelled like a very popular public toilet frequented by renal failure patients that hasn’t been cleaned for a DECADE.
I was polite enough to say it smelled like hair bleach though. HAHAHA
The ammonia appears blue in color when exposed to the tissue. He then put it under the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for just a few seconds and the blue color turned into orange – thus removing the ammonia, and not only that, the odor disappeared as well!
Check it out! The process of the ammonia turning from blue to orange (clean). I know coz I smelled it after it was treated. Heh! :)
It’s magical! The smell of pure concentrated ammonia magically disappears after a few seconds under the ionizer.
That’s the wonderful odor busting properties it has, in addition to the moisturizing effects. It looks orange but that’s not coz of the ammonia – the ammonia stains it blue, and the blue has been removed by just a few seconds of the ion treatment. Awesome right?
I would even use it to wipe my face….IF I didn’t know it had been soaked in ammonia before the ionizer treatment. ;)
I figured that the best product for me is the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars. I smoke in my car so I figured that I’ll take it for a test drive (no pun intended).
It’s very easy to use, just connect the device to the cigarette lighter socket in your car, and it’s ready to go.
You can set power levels too – from low to a mode called Turbo, which I immediately went for.
It actually emits moisturized air and ions – I was smelling it straight and got a good dose of nice clean ionized air.
I have put it in my car for several days now – it’s particularly nice at night since the illuminated LEDs allows you to see what the settings are and you can change the mode and levels if you want, just via a simple press of a button.
Did it work? I was already convinced when I watched and filmed that demonstration in the Sharp workshop but I wanted to try it out for myself.
I also have a bad tendency of eating in my car, and that emits odors as well. I did just that and smoked while driving back home with the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars on Turbo mode.
There was no smell at all after 1 minute with the windows rolled up!
It’s not just for smokers too, the Sharp Plasmacluster technology purifies the air by:
Suppressing the effects of airborne viruses
Breaking down and removing airborne mold
Breaking down and removing allergens
…which creates fresh clean air and lock-in skin moisture! It’s something that every car needs so you won’t have to jump in fright when someone else sneezes just in case another outbreak of H1N1 occurs. It also makes your car environment a healthier place.
The design is awesome too – the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars is shaped like a pint glass so you can put it in the drinks holder of your car. It’s aesthetically pleasing as as mentioned the illuminated LEDs are very useful at night.
Check out the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range for something that suits you – there’s even a model for your bedside so you can sleep in peace:
My Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars really works in quickly reducing odors – forget about car fragrances, those only mask the smell of tobacco, it doesn’t actually remove it. I love it! It’s perfect for my lifestyle. :)
I was at Point One and noticed a new range of cigarettes from Switzerland. It’s called SKL and comes with various flavors with two premium flagship brands.
I got the SKL Strawberry which is described on the pack as “strawberry cigarettes tastefully blended with pipe tobacco”.
The cool factor in the cigarette lies in the presentation – the
entire cigarette is black. It’s really neat, for a lack of a better
adjective at this hour of the night.
SKL Strawberry smokes really well too, at least in
my not-so-humble-opinion. Cherie and Joanne said it tastes like
incense. I like it, but your milage may vary. I’m going to try the
others in the SKL range.
Dunhill Top Leaf is an ultra premium cigarette
manufactured by Dunhill to contain only 100% top leaf tobacco in the
cigarette. It retails for RM 13 for a pack of 20’s (albeit a really nice pack ;)) in selected retail outlets. I got mine from the KLIA airport – brought a couple of packs back.
Dunhill Top Leaf comes in a large form factor box similar to 25’s
but much slimmer in design. There is a leaf imprint on the top of the
pastel red embossed box with the accompanying text “Dunhill ‘D’ Top
Leaf” and “100% Top Leaf Tobacco” inscribed at the bottom. The entire
box looks nothing short of classy and embodies premium tobacco.
The design of the box also includes an embossed BAT (British
American Tobacco) figurehead on the top. The overall design is
minimalist with the words “100% Top Leaf Tobacco” on the bottom saying
it all. I did get a lot of looks bringing it out, probably due to the
Dunhill Top Leaf is described as “The top leaves of each tobacco
plant receive the most sun and develop the most distinctive flavors.
Our blenders use only leaves from the top half of the tobacco plant to
create these remarkably flavorful cigarettes” in a small side bar at
the back of the textured box, as well as the stamp “Made in England”.
Dunhill Top Leaf opens up to reveal two foil wrapped compartments
with each side containing 10 cigarettes. I like the foil design – it
keeps half the cigarettes fresh while the other half is opened. The
dual compartment flat design is standard in most ultra premium
The foil wrapped compartment opens up to reveal 10 cigarettes with
the Dunhill logo and the red embossed “D” below it. I like the feel of
the textured and embossed matte cigarette box as well, although that
has nothing to do with how well it smokes, it still contributes to the
ultra premium experience that you’re paying for. ;)
Dunhill Top Leaf comes out as a really smooth smoke with a
nice distinctive taste that separates it from regular cigarettes. The
only complaint I have regarding the cigarettes (and this was also
iterated by a friend who tried it) is that it’s too mild…the
cigarettes may provide a smooth smoke but the nicotine hit falls a bit
short of the mark.
Dunhill Top Leaf is a nice, smooth ultra premium cigarette though.
Orange Peel cigarettes are one of the interesting cigarettes out
there in terms of being obvious about their target market. The
packaging of the cigarettes is distinctly orange and the wrap liner
shows that this is another line from DJ Tobacco, the manufactures
behind the DJ Mix series of cigarettes.
The Peel series seems to be a new line of cigarettes for DJ Tobacco’s portfolio, and this is the flavor that Mr Lim [gmail.com] in Langkawi is kind enough to mail me – it’s called Orange Menthol Peel and the cigarettes are just exactly that…they taste like oranges!
The aluminum foil that can be seen as the pack is opened up can only
be described with one word – zesty! There are various different angles
and font sizes of PEEL on the cigarette foil in bright orange and it
appears to look like a citrus windfall. The sharp citrus tang can also
be smelled upon opening the pack – it smells like oranges too!
There is another surprise when I removed the…er, zesty foil. The
filters on the Orange Peel cigarettes are brightly emblazoned with PEEL
Orange Menthol with colorful dioramas of orange representations. This
cigarettes not only looks like its orange flavored, it tastes and
smells like oranges too!
PEEL Orange Menthol cigarettes come highly recommended from me – it’s the closest thing to smoking an orange! ;)
I received a notice that I had a package waiting for me in Customs.
With some trepidation, I went and picked up the parcel from the
Malaysian Post Customs. It cleared just fine – there was just a note on
the package stating “Received in this condition”.
I was wondering what the contents inside were – the package seems to
have a vague box shape to it, and it was secured with some nylon
string. The back of the package is inscribed with the sender’s
information – All Element Trading in Penang. I’m not sure who sent this package, please tell me if you’re the sender, so I can thank you.
Anyway, the brown paper wrap opens up to reveal…a box for a
Panasonic water filter (?). WTF was the main line of thought in my mind
as I investigated further and opened up the box to see if there was
really a water filter inside. I was thinking about what kind of
nefarious person would send me a water filter as a gift. ;)
The box opens out to reveal a newspaper wrapped package. Mysterious
mysteries, but at least it doesn’t feel like a water filter…
It turns out that the newspapers were used to conceal a plastic bag containing cigarettes.
Longlife cigarettes is a brand of cigarettes in Taiwan. This is the
full flavored version that comes in bright yellow packaging and the
characters for “long life” in Chinese written in the middle.
Jesus…and to think that for all this while, I had harbored the
mistaken thought cigarettes are bad for you. ;)
Anyway, this is the premium full flavored version of Longlife
cigarettes that was purchased in Taiwan. It contains 1.1 mg of nicotine
and 13 mg of tar.
The interesting thing about Taiwanese cigarettes is that they have
expiry dates printed on the bottom of each pack (!) – this one says
Heck, they even have a phone number you can call or an email address you can send enquires about the cigarettes to! Now that is support! ;)
The strange thing about the full flavored Long Life cigarettes is
the white filter, which is the norm for lights over here, but not full
flavored ones. Nevertheless, I found Longlife cigarettes to be a
smooth, satisfying smoke.
I saw a huge pack of Dunhill cigarettes retailing for RM 12
just now. It contains 40 cigarettes and I loved the box the moment I
set my eyes on it. The sheer audacity of the Dunhill 40’s pack needs to
be personally experienced – I wanted to put it into my pocket just to
see if it fits (which it obviously won’t).
The liner on the Dunhill cigarette pack has “DUNHILL TWIN PACK RM
12.00” written on it. It’s a promotional item, probably to counter the
tobacco price wars with Philip Morris retailing Marlboros at RM 6 and
Next going for RM 4.
The side of the huge Dunhill flip top box has 40 cigarettes stamped
on it. The box is made to look like one gigantic Dunhill pack with all
the appropriate detailing in. It’s actually a box housing 2 x 20’s.
This is what the inside of the huge Dunhill box contains – there are two ordinary Dunhill 20’s inside.
The individual Dunhill boxes has “Twin Pack RM 12.00” instead of the
usual liner text. I love the entire concept and bought it even though
I’m not a big fan of Dunhill’s. I love the huge promotional pack though.
I received a Pos Malaysia Pos Ekspres (Next Day Delivery) package in
the mail today from Mr. Lim in Langkawi. He was kind enough to send me
cigarettes for review purposes. Thanks Mr. Lim! :)
I was puzzled regarding the initial content of the packaging at
first (having been on the receiving end of several items of *cough*
dubious nature in the past) but since it did not come with an entourage
of police, I decided it was safe to open the package up. ;)
Peel – Menthol Orange and Fisher Lights
are two of the cigarettes that Mr. Lim sent me. He’s also the
distributor of DJ Mix cigarettes in Malaysia and can be contacted at email@example.com
[gmail.com] for the people who’re interested in obtaining the entire DJ
Mix range of cigarettes. He has a real brick and mortar shop in
Langkawi and has sold the DJ Mix line to people overseas and inside
Malaysia from the sixthseal.com comment queries in the past.
…and no, Mr. Lim, there’s no commission for this. sixthseal.com is a pure community oriented site. :)
P/S – Future new cigarettes for review purposes would be much appreciated though. ;)
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