Strong anti-smoking adverts applauded

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) welcomes the recent Government move to take out full-page colour advertisements in the press warning the public of the serious consequences of smoking.

Among others, these advertisements include a graphic picture of one of the deadly results – lung cancer – and warns the public that smoking does not pay, and not to be fooled by tobacco companies.

However, a report has since appeared in a leading daily stating that the advertisements may have to stop – due to one reason or another. This is regrettable news.

These advertisements really show the Government’s seriousness in addressing the smoking epidemic. CAP calls on the Government to stand firm to ensure that these advertisements continue to be carried in the press and also, over national television.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke – chemicals which are either cancer-causing, toxic or serve as irritants.

Smoking has been universally accepted as one of the leading causes of cancer. Based on government hospital statistics, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer among males. One of the overwhelming causes of lung cancer is the use of tobacco.

Smoking in the country has reached alarming proportions. About half of all Malaysian adult males smoke. A study conducted in 1999 found that nearly one in five Malaysian teenagers were smokers. About 50 teenagers are taking up the smoking habit every day.

Smoking causes at least about 10,000 deaths a year, not to mention the enormous costs – running into billions of ringgit – to treat tobacco-related diseases.

CAP urges the Government not waver from this promising start of firm action that is visible enough for the whole nation to sit up and take notice – that smoking really does not pay.

Press Statement, 10 February, 2009