Smoking survey shocks

| March 6, 2017
shock photo

Photo by diongillard

A survey in Malaysia has shown that more than one in five male adolescents smoke cigarettes and that of them more than a third smoke 2-5 a day, according to a story in The Star, Kuala Lumpur.

The Tobacco and E-cigarette Survey among Malaysian Adolescents 2016 (Tecma) showed that four out of five of those questioned knew that smoking by anyone below the age of 18 was an offense under the law.

But more than half said they could buy cigarettes easily from supermarkets, grocery stores and roadside stalls.

Published on the Health Ministry’s Institute for Public Health website, Tecma is the first national study of tobacco and electronic-cigarette usage among Malaysians aged between 10 and 19.

In all, 14,833 students from 138 schools in 15 states were surveyed.

Although nearly all of those interviewed knew that smoking was harmful to their health, one in 10 non-smoking adolescents said they were likely to start smoking in future.

The survey found that most students had heard about electronic cigarettes and vaping, and that one in five had tried it.

Tecma recommended that the devices be made illegal for underage users, whether or not the devices contained nicotine.

Last month, the Health Ministry’s Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 came into force. Under the new regulations, smoking is no longer allowed in a number of outdoor public places popular with young people.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said a ministry meeting would be held to discuss the survey.

Describing the results as shocking, he said something had to be done to address the issue of student smokers.

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