KUALA LUMPUR: About half of young smokers interviewed in a recent survey said they felt like quitting after seeing the Tak Nak anti-smoking advertisements.
The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) survey, covering selected schools in Selangor, Johor, Penang and Kelantan, interviewed 2,451 students to find out what they thought about the campaign.
Of the 322 who claimed to be smokers, 50.8% said they felt like quitting after seeing the advertisements, while 26.5% said they would quit later. The others said the campaign has no effect on their habit.
Among the non-smokers, 75% said they would not smoke, while 10.5% felt they would probably not smoke.
Some 14.4% of the non-smokers said the campaign had no influence on them. There were 258 former smokers among the respondents.
Associate Prof Dr Zulkifli Ahmad of USMs School of Medical Sciences in Kota Baru, who presented the findings of the survey at the Malaysian Conference on Tobacco Control here last Thursday, said, of those interviewed, 91.1% said they had seen the advertisements.
He said television advertisements were the most effective medium, adding that 89.5% of those who were aware of the campaign saw the Tak Nak advertisement on TV; and 55.5% claimed they had also seen it on billboards.
Only 41.1% of the respondents were aware of radio advertisements, and 32.6% saw the advertisements in magazines.
Dr Zulkifli said 99.7% of respondents in Selangor had seen the anti-smoking advertisements, compared with 76.5% in Penang, the lowest among the four states covered.
Saying that the campaign was now very well known, he urged the Government to continue with this course of action; and make sure the symbol (the bent cigarette) was seen everywhere, in particular where smoking was prevalent.
He said the symbol should be put at points of purchase or even on cigarette packets.
However, Dr Zulkifli added, the campaign had failed to give those intending to kick the habit information on what to do next.
If people want to quit, help them on what to do next. This was not followed through. Something has to be done about this.
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