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Malaysia: Everyone plays an important role in preventing smoking among youths

11 September 2022

By Luqman Hakim, New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Everyone plays an important role in ensuring the younger generation is not exposed to the dangers of smoking, said Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.

He said the Health Ministry was not the sole entity responsible for preventing the habit among youths because other quarters needed to help in this effort.

“The Health Ministry is not the only party responsible in this matter as they lean more towards treatment and prevention.

“It is important to instil positive attitudes and discipline among the next generation. This includes health care aspects such as raising awareness about the harmful effects of smoking towards an individual and the country,” he said after launching the GEGARUN programme here today.

Ti shared the National Morbidity Survey 2019, which revealed that out of the five million smokers in Malaysia:

• 12.3 per cent were between age five to 19;

• 25.5 per cent were between age 20 to 24;

• 24.7 per cent were between age 25 to 29;

• 27.1 per cent were between age 30 to 34; and

• 24 per cent were between age 35 to 39

“Raising awareness and nurturing anti-smoking activists must start from an early age. The issue of smoking is one of the main issues that the Youth and Sports Ministry is concerned about.

“The country needs a focused act such as the Generational Endgame (GEG) because the harm from smoking is getting worse,” he said.

The Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 has been tabled by Health Ministry; and it focuses on the prohibition of smoking in the target group of individuals born after 2007.

If the bill is passed, Malaysia will become the first country in the world to ban smoking and prohibit the ownership of tobacco and vape products by those born after 2007.

The bill was aimed at regulating control of tobacco products and their substitutes, reducing smokers among Malaysians to less than five per cent by 2040, preventing children and teenagers from falling into the smoking habit, as well as to protect non-smokers.