Study shows nearly 190,000 smokers under 12 in Malaysia, health ministry says

KUALA LUMPUR: A previous study found that 188,020 children under the age of 12 smoke either conventional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, according to the Ministry of Health.

This was based on the findings of the Smoking and E-Cigarette Survey among Malaysian Adolescents (Tecma) conducted by the Public Health Institute (PHI) in 2016.

“A total of 125,714 children smoked conventional cigarettes while a total of 62,306 smoked electronic cigarettes,” the health ministry said in a written response to a question posed by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) to Dewan Rakyat on Monday, March 21. ).

Chan wanted to know the estimated number of children under 12 who smoked and what was being done to prevent the sale of such items.

In addition to the Tecma study, the ministry noted that annual screening programs as part of a separate oral health study revealed that a total of 32,170 young people under the age of 18 were smokers.

According to the study, a total of 6,110 young people under the age of 18 were smokers in 2018; 13,426 in 2019; and 12,634 last year.

“The program was, however, discontinued in 2020 and 2021 following home learning,” the ministry added.

At present, the Ministry has stated that the control of the sale of tobacco products is governed by the Tobacco Products Control Act 2004.

The ministry is currently considering changing the laws to further prevent the sale of tobacco products to those under 18.

The proposed new laws, the ministry noted, would also prevent the sale of e-cigarette-related tobacco products to those under 18, as is done in the United States, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Besides cracking down on the sale of cigarettes to minors, the ministry also runs programs to encourage individuals to quit smoking.

Among the programs is mQuit, which offers online treatment for people who want to quit smoking through the portal.

Maria J. Book