Malacca, Malaysia - smoke free zones to be expanded..

Tak nak! - Say NO..
October 27, 2010 - Malacca is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. PETALING JAYA: Workplaces with centralised air-conditioning are among those newly-included in the smoke-free areas designated by the Health Ministry, says its Deputy Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin .

"With ministry support, the Malacca government embarked on a Smoke-Free Malacca Initiative where smoking inside buildings within designated areas of the city are disallowed," she said, adding that more smoke-free areas would be expanded.

"Support and co-operation from media personnel, community leaders and members of the public are required to ensure the sustained success of the anti-tobacco move to protect public health."

Rosnah said the recent increases in tobacco tax and cigarette price hike are among measures to discourage smoking.

"Most of the new and strengthened anti-smoking actions by the government in the future would be those obligated and recommended by the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that is an international treaty to which Malaysia is a party to since 2005."

"Many international research and local scientific studies by our ministry and academic groups have found the Tak Nak Merokok (Anti-Smoking)Campaign and cigarette price hikes have brought about significant impact to curb smoking, especially among children, youths and the poor."

VIDEO - Ministry of Health - Tak Nak Merokok Campaign (Anti-Smoking Campaign)

Rosnah said the World Bank Report 1999 said a 10 per cent increase in cigarette price would lead to four to eight per cent reduction in demand.

"Our ministry's own evaluation of the three waves of the Tak Nak Merokok campaign showed the nationwide level of message penetration, awareness, knowledge, positive change in attitude and change in behaviour among Malaysians, be it smokers, non-smokers and youths, is very high," she said.

"The third National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS3) by the ministry in 2006 also showed a drop in smoking prevalence. Hence, the actions by the government, especially the ministry all these years, have not been wasted."

On July 28, The Malay Mail reported the number of smokers fell by three per cent in the 10-year period between 1996 and 2006, according to the NHMS3. While the percentage might be small, Rosnah said achieving significant change in population behaviour, from smoking to quitting, would require fairly long periods as there were multiple internal and external factors to determine such prospects.

She said the final impact would take decades as there was a lag period of 20 to 30 years between tobacco use and health burdens.

According to the Tak Nak Merokok media campaign impact studies, 75 per cent of smokers exposed to it took action by engaging help from "Quit Smoking Services" and contacted the ministry's infoline, compared with only 31.6 per cent of the overall respondents.

The ministry confirmed there are now four million Malaysians addicted to smoking.

Reference: Smoke-free zones to be expanded by NADIRAH H. RODZI,, 10/26/2010.