Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 23, 2007

Anti-smoking campaign better option

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:27 am

Sun2Surf: KUALA LUMPUR (May 21, 2007): The government is focusing on educating the public to refrain from smoking rather than imposing a total ban because a ban comes with certain challenges, Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said today.
Answering a supplementary question from Datuk Syed Ali Syed Abbas Alhabbshee, he said the proposal to ban smoking nationwide would raise certain challenges. He did not elaborate on what these challenges were.
“To ban smoking is an easy suggestion. But it is not easy to be implemented. Now, we are more focused on education so that the people will understand the harm of smoking.
“If I am not mistaken, there are not many countries in the world that have totally banned smoking,” he said.
To another question from Senator Datuk Soon Tian Sze, who questioned the effectiveness of the “Tak Nak” campaign in curbing smoking, Lee said the campaign was well received by the people.
“From our research, more than 70% of the people knew about the ‘Tak Nak’ campaign. But we have to be clear that the campaign is to create awareness and not to reduce the number of smokers,” he said.
“Next, we will carry a grassroot campaign to reduce demand for cigarettes.”
Lee said the move to impose high tax and price control on cigarettes was one of the most important strategies to curb smoking.
“According to a report by World Bank, if the price of cigarettes were to increase by about 10%, it will cut down the use of cigarettes by between 4% and 8%,” he said.
He said the World Health Organisation also suggested that the tax imposed on cigarettes be 65% higher than the retail price.
“In Malaysia, the tax imposed on one box of 20-stick cigarettes is about RM3 or 40% of the retail price,” he said, adding that the government had fixed the minimum price to prevent cheap sale of cigarettes in the market.

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