16 September 2017:
BESIDE enforcement, support from teachers and counsellors in schools are crucial to eradicate smoking especially among students.
Enforcement is a partial solution and concerted efforts are needed to address the issue of smoking.
The statement was made by Hajah Norliza binti Haji Abdul Halim from the Health Enforcement Unit, Health Regulations under Ministry of Health during her presentation at the workshop on tobacco use awareness organised by the student’s welfare division of the Department of Schools under the Ministry of Education.
During the presentation, Hajah Norliza revealed the worrying statistics of offences under Section 10 (1) of the Tobacco Order 2005 from the Health Enforcement Unit related to smoking or possessing tobacco products by a person under 18 years old.
According to the statistics, from January to August this year there were a total of 72 cases of offences while in 2016, there were 43 cases recorded.
The breakdown of the statistics from January to August this year showed that two 12-year-olds, three 13-year-olds and 16 14-year-olds were caught under the offence.
Also during the same period, a high of 24 15-year-olds and twelve 16-year-olds were recorded under the offence, while fifteen 17-year-olds were caught.
The statistics noted that a 15-year-old was issued with a $100 fine for repeating a second time the offence of smoking or possessing tobacco products in 2017, and in 2016 a 14-year-old was penalised for the same offence.
For the offence of smoking in restricted areas or vehicles, the Health Enforcement Unit recorded a high of 398 cases in 2016 as compared to 302 cases in 2015.
Meanwhile, according to the Tobacco Atlas Asean Region Third Edition November 2016, in Brunei Darussalam the smoking prevalence for teenagers (13 to 15 years old) was at 11.1 per cent; among male teenagers it was 16.3 per cent and among female teenagers 5.6 per cent.
Highlighting the danger of smoking, Hajah Norliza said, “Besides secondhand smoke, there is also third-hand smoke where pollutants produced from cigarette’s smoke still hover in the air in confined areas for hours even after the cigarette smoke has disappeared from plain sight.
“The pollutants that contain cancer-causing-materials from the smoke will stick to the furniture (such as a sofa), walls, interior of cars or the surface of anything.
“This poses a risk to babies and small children who breathe in the air or transfer contaminants from surface to mouth.”