Saturday, July 01, 2006

Health Ministry Embarks On A More Aggressive Anti-Smoking Campaign

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry has embarked on a more aggressive anti-smoking campaign to help reduce the number of smokers in the country, now estimated at 4.6 million.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek Saturday said an allocation of RM7 million had been provided for the three-month campaign which began today.
It hoped to raise the percentage of smokers attending clinics to help them kick the habit from three per cent presently to 10 per cent and increase from 19 per cent to 30 per cent the number of teenage smokers to want to quit smoking, he told reporters here.
Earlier, Dr Chua had launched his ministry's family day celebrations and "Jom Makan Secara Sihat" (Let's Eat Healthy) campaign at the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong here.
This campaign comes in the wake of the "Tak Nak" anti-smoking campaign that was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004 but did not produce the results it sought.
In Malaysia, more than 50 per cent of the men smoke, which compared to advanced countries like the United States (35 per cent) and United Kingdom (38 per cent), is rather high.
Of this, about eight per cent involve teenagers.
Dr Chua also said that besides the anti-smoking campaign, several other campaigns on health were also planned during the three-month period and that a total of RM22 million had been set aside for the purpose.
This involved campaigns on living healthy lifestyles, prevention of HIV/AIDS, dengue fever and thalassemia, he said.

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