25 June 2023
The health minister says tobacco control measures by the government require support from all levels of society.
KOTA KINABALU: Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has asked all parties to support efforts to ensure that the Control of Smoking Products for Public Heath Bill 2023 can be tabled in Parliament at its next sitting.
She said the issue needs to be taken seriously due to the smoking habit, and the increasing use of electronic cigarettes and vaping, contributing to the increase in diseases in the country.
She hoped a generation of young Malaysians will be free from any form of smoking habits under this bill, also dubbed the Generational Endgame (GEG) Bill, which seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products for those born after Jan 1, 2007.
“Tobacco control measures carried out require support from all levels of society. Smokers or their family members and friends should take this opportunity to show their love by getting help from smoking cessation programmes,” she said.
The text of her speech was read out by her deputy, Lukanisman Awang Sauni, at the launch ceremony of the national-level World No-Tobacco Day here today.
Zaliha said Malaysia was witnessing an increase in non-communicable disease (NCD) cases, with the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey report showing 5.1 million people have two or three major risk factors for cardiovascular or heart disease, the main contributor to death in Malaysia.
“NCDs can actually be prevented through a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking. This survey also shows that 27,200 deaths every year in this country were due to smoking.
“Nearly 21.3% of the adult population, or an estimated 4.8 million, are smokers.
“Their passive cigarette smoke exposes non-smokers to various chronic diseases,” she added.
She said the health ministry was concerned about the increasing trend in the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping, with 4.9% (or 1.13 million users) of adults using them.
Zaliha said a health survey, involving young people aged 13 to 17, showed an increase in electronic cigarette users — from 211,084 in 2017 to 301,109 in 2022.
“This has not taken into account the use of conventional cigarettes by a group of teenagers, numbering 186,817 in 2022.”
Zaliha said the data showed the necessity for joint action from all parties so that smoking is reduced to just 5% and Malaysia becomes a smoke-free country by 2040.