PUTRAJAYA: With a roar of Tak nak! (Don't want!) to smoking from some 3,000 schoolchildren, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launched a five-year RM100mil anti-smoking campaign here yesterday.
When the Prime Minister got up to the rostrum at the Putrajaya Convention Centre yesterday to deliver his speech and asked several times, Do you want to smoke? the answer each time was a resounding Tak nak.
The children, from primary and secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, were specially transported to the convention centre for the simple but meaningful event.
In his speech, Abdullah said the anti-smoking habit should be inculcated among the young so that they would not become smokers later in life.
He said parents who smoked should stop their bad habit as they could influence their children to be smokers as well.
My message is, be careful, dont be influenced when your friends ask you to smoke. Do not be shy to say tak nak.
To the adults, he said: Stop smoking because it does not bring any benefit to you.
He added that teachers and parents must monitor the children to prevent them from smoking.
Abdullah said he had never smoked in his life and his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was not a smoker either.
However, he quipped, I would not dare say that those who smoke will not become a prime minister.
Later, he told reporters stricter enforcement was needed to prevent the sale of cigarettes to teenagers.
He also said the anti-smoking campaign would be conducted in schools as it was targeted at students.
We are campaigning for those who are already smoking to stop and for those who have not, to not start smoking, he added.
He said the anti-smoking campaign in government departments was showing results.
Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng, who was also present, said the Government allocated RM20mil annually for the five-year campaign, which included disseminating scientific findings on the dangers of smoking and advertisements.
This campaign uses persuasion. We encourage them through education and using a catchphrase Tak nak, he said.