KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today expressed support for the Health Ministry’s plan to increase areas that prohibit smoking.
The doctors’ body also urged the government to launch an awareness campaign on smoking in vehicles, pointing out that Australia, Canada, and France fined people for lighting up in private vehicles in the presence of a minor or pregnant woman.
“We are confident also that in the long run, these measures will significantly help reduce the nation’s expenditure on healthcare costs in treating Malaysians affected by illnesses and diseases associated with tobacco smoke,” MMA president Dr Mohamed Namazie Ibrahim said in a statement.
“We also share the same concerns expressed by our Health Minister on the harmful effects of Second Hand Smoke (SHS) on the health of in particular women and children. The effects of SHS are serious. If you look at the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, SHS causes 890,000 premature deaths per year globally.
“In adults, SHS causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it can cause sudden death and in pregnant women, it may cause low birth weight,” he added.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad reportedly said last Saturday that his ministry has decided to enact a standalone tobacco control law to completely prohibit smoking in public, with a limited number of designated smoking areas.
The smoking ban at restaurants, including open-air outlets, however has courted criticism, with Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah reporting public complaints and confusion about the policy.