Ministry targets 15% fewer smokers by 2025

SEGAMAT: The Health Ministry aims to reduce the number of smokers in the country by 15% by 2025.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said based on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), there are 4.7 million Malaysians aged 15 and above who are smokers.

“Malaysia spends RM2.92bil a year to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, and lung cancer.

“Diseases that are related to smoking, such as cancer and cardiovascular disorder, are the main causes of early death for three decades in a row,” he said, adding that about 20,000 Malaysians die each year due to smoking.

Dr Subramaniam pointed out that if smoking patterns do not change, there would be an increase in deaths to 30,000 by 2020.

He said this after launching the national-level World Environmental Health Day at SJK(C) Jementah here Friday.

Dr Subramaniam said the Government is committed to supporting the World Health Organisation (WHO) efforts to control and fight the smoking pandemic worldwide.

“Medical practitioners have an important role to play in carrying out activities, such as protecting non-smokers from smokers, counselling to stop smoking and warning people about the dangers of smoking,” he said.

He added that the ministry will also gazette more non-smoking areas throughout the country to make it even harder for those wanting to light a cigarette in public.

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