Malaysia: Parents and school authorities must address smoking habit among students

LABUAN: Close cooperation between the school authorities and parents and their strict monitoring are important in addressing the smoking habit among students.

Labuan Health Department director, Dr Ismail Ali said despite efforts made by the national authorities, information campaigns and advice on the deleterious effects of smoking, the inability to reduce smoking addiction was indeed regrettable and a cause for serious concern.

“Cigarette smoking is a prevalent habit among students and we believe the number of student smokers is growing. We need the cooperation of the parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to help resolve this issue,” he told Bernama today.

He said undeniably, the habit was influenced by their family members’ habit, mainly of their fathers’.

“Hence, parental behaviour, whether it is positive or negative can have a great impact on the growing years of children and even during their adolescent period,” he said.

Dr Ismail said peer pressure at school and the workplace was another major factor for individuals to pick up the smoking habit.

“There must be a set of rules and policies to guide students on proper behaviour and on having good habits.”

He noted that the mass media could play a significant role in disseminating important information about the bad effects of smoking, by supporting anti-smoking campaigns and promoting intervention programmes against smoking.

“Education and enforcement are two important elements in tackling the problem and they must go hand in hand,” he said.

Secondary school teacher, Sitiphanus Alwi said the type of school attended by students was one of the major reasons for students to pick up smoking or not.

“If the school has a good reputation with high moral values instilled in their students, they will tend not to pick up bad habits like smoking or get involved in vice,” Sitiphanus said.

According to the Resource Centre of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), the smoking prevalence rate among men in Malaysia is just over 50% and it is estimated that by 2020, more than two-thirds of the world’s smokers will be in Asia. – Bernama

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Parents and school authorities urged to address smoking habit among students