Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 19, 2008

The bad and ugly side

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:34 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Smoking will be banned in more public places, among them the National Service training camps.
This squeeze on smokers is part of the government’s efforts to reduce their numbers. Appearing soon will be pictures depicting smoking hazards on cigarette packs.
The Health Ministry’s parliamentary secretary, Datuk Lee Kah Choon, said it was difficult to have a 100 per cent smoke-free environment.
Hence, by increasing the number of non-smoking areas, the government hopes smokers will kick the habit.
“Every year, we get about 100,000 NS trainees and we want to educate them about leading a healthy lifestyle.”
He declined to give a time-frame on the smoking ban in NS training camps, but said the authorities were working towards this.
Lee said his ministry was working with the Human Resource Ministry on plans to make all workplaces smoke-free. “It will take time to draw up the regulations, so I cannot give any target.
“Cigarette smoke deprives everyone of a clean and healthy environment. I hope the day will come when non-smokers can sue smokers for the damage caused by secondhand smoke.”
He added that the government was confident the public would eventually accept a smoke-free environment as a natural thing, just like non-smoking flights.
The government plans to reduce the number of smokers through a comprehensive programme, which includes education in schools, enforcement and stop-smoking assistance, such as the ministry’s information line (03-88834400) and the 105 “quit smoking” clinics nationwide.
The ministry is planning to have pictures showing the results of smoking on cigarette packs. Currently, cigarette packs carry a warning on the side panel.
Malaysia, which ratified the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005, is required to display warning messages on at least 30 per cent of the cover of cigarette packets.
In Thailand and Singapore, which are also party to the FCTC, warning pictures such as unflattering teeth and a patient with damaged lungs are on the cigarette packets.
Lee said the government faced a battle with tobacco companies whenever they tried to reduce the price of cigarettes. “When the price is reduced, the young may be encouraged to pick up the habit.”

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