THE Government coughs up about RM3bil annually to treat smoking-related diseases.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said a recent health economic study in Malaysia showed that there were three main diseases related to smoking – coronary heart disease, lung cancer, chronic lung disease – and that all these were quite costly to be treated.
“The coronary heart diseases treatment cost about RM545mil annually.
“Lung cancer treatment cost about RM133mil while treatment for chronic lung diseases is about RM2.2bil,” he said after launching the national-level “International No Tobacco Day” at the Mydin Hypermarket in Meru Raya here recently.
“All these costs are borne by the Government,” he added.
Dr Subramaniam stressed that anyone who has lung cancer, be it a smoker or a non-smoker whose illness was caused by second-hand cigarette smoke, has to spend about RM42,000 a year for treatment.
“Those with chronic lung diseases will have to cough up RM32,000 and those with coronary heart diseases RM21,000 every year,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam also said that according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Malaysia 2011, about 23.1% or 4.7 million people are smokers.
“The ministry has targeted to lower the number of smokers to 16% by 2025.
“My personal goal is to come down to 15%,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam also said that of the six million people who died of smoking-related cases globally, 600,000 of the figure were exposed to second-hand smoke.
“If we do not take action now, this epidemic will kill eight million people every year until 2030.
“More than 80% of these deaths include the public in middle- and low-income countries,” he said.
He said the World Health Report 2010 had stated that by increasing the price of cigarettes, it could be an effective way to deter people from smoking.
“A 10% increse in the price of cigarettes is expected to lessen the smoking habit among the people by 4% in a high-income country,” he said.
“A middle-or low-income country is expected to reduce by 8%.
“This will also help the people save money and spend on more beneficial things,” he added.
Also present at the launch was Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.