Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa asked all parties to support efforts to ensure that the Control of Smoking Product 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, especially the increasing use of electronic cigarettes and vaping, contributing to the increase in the burden of diseases in the country.
“The Ministry of Health has tried to bring the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 to Parliament. It is hoped that through this legislative measure, a generation of young Malaysians will be free from any form of smoking habits known as the Generational Endgame involving teenagers born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards.
“Tobacco control measures that are 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.
She said this in the text of her speech which was read out by her deputy, Lukanisman Awang Sauni at the launch ceremony of the national-level World No-Tobacco Day here today.
Dr Zaliha said Malaysia is witnessing an increase in non-communicable disease (NCD) cases with the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 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 the culture of a healthy lifestyle including not smoking. This survey also shows that it is estimated that more than 27,200 deaths every year in this country are due to smoking.
“The prevalence of smokers in the adult group is 21.3 per cent of the population with an estimated 4.8 million smokers. This group of smokers exposes passive cigarette smoke to the majority of the public who are non-smokers thus exposing the risk to various chronic diseases,” she added.
She added that her ministry also paid attention to the increasing trend in the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping which has a prevalence of 4.9 per cent or equivalent to 1.13 million users among adults.
She said a youth health survey involving young people aged 13 to 17 showed an increase in electronic cigarettes users from 211,084 people in 2017 to 301,109 people in 2022.
“This has not taken into account the use of conventional cigarettes involving this group of teenagers, which is a total of 186,817 people in 2022. The data shared is a real scenario that demands concern and joint action from all parties.
“It is to curb and reject any form of smoking habits in our country towards achieving the Generational Endgame goal with the prevalence of the smoking habit being less than 5 per cent and Malaysia becoming a smoking-free country by the year 2040,” she said. — Bernama