The harms of smoking double

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is currently facing a ‘double burden’ from conventional smoking and e-cigarettes, says the President of the Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health, Professor Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed.

He said it got worse due to the high prevalence of smoking among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 – who are dual users – for both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

“Vaping is popular with our youth and it renormalizes smoking behavior and acts as a gateway to conventional smoking for new smokers.

“The THR concept applied in other countries may not work given the context of e-cigarette usage in Malaysia.

“Furthermore, it is heavily promoted by the tobacco industry, which also produces its own brands of e-cigarettes. So it actually promotes substitution or even harm-creation, given that more harmful effects of smoking and exposure to e-cigarettes are identified,” he said.

In a recent survey by Malaysian think tank DARE (Datametrics Research & Information Centre) conducted by market researcher Green Zebras, the majority (80%) of Malaysians believe that adopting tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategies ) in the country will help smokers quit smoking. traditional tobacco cigarettes.

The Clearing the Smoke: An Insight on Tobacco Harm Reduction poll also found that more than half of respondents (58%) are aware of several studies that have proven THR products to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

Of all the THR products available, about half of respondents (51%) rated vaping as the most convenient and safest way to quit smoking.

Public Health England, the UK’s leading public health agency, found that vaping products were the most popular method used by consumers who wanted to try quitting smoking.

Since implementing the THR’s strategy of using vaping products to help reduce smoking habits, two million smokers successfully quit between 2011 and 2019.

Dr Haniki added that if the generational endgame is not implemented soon, the country will also bear a greater burden of long-term treatment costs associated with smoking due to the fact that the percentage of smokers will be the even, or even higher.

“With an estimated population growth of 1.5% in five years as well as an increase in medical costs of 5% per year for the cost of treating service providers and diseases, the government will only bear the cost of treatment by three diseases caused by conventional smoking. (lung cancer, heart attack and chronic obstructive airway disease) up to RM8.77 billion in 2030

“The projected number of e-cigarette users was calculated based on an incidence rate of 0.04% and treatment costs were calculated based on ward admission for four days and d an admission to the room for 12 days.

“With the percentage of e-cigarettes being used at the current rate, the government will bear the cost of treating RM369mil by 2030,” he said.

On the issue of illegal cigarettes, he said they should be controlled simultaneously and enforcement should be strengthened by relevant agencies in line with the implementation of the generational endgame.

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