Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) is very encouraged by the announcement by the health minister at the recent WHO executive board meeting in Geneva, of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) proposal and intention to outlaw smoking for a future generation of Malaysians.
LCNM strongly supports the proposal to introduce legislation to prohibit the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to Malaysians born after 2005. We applaud and endorse such courageous and decisive leadership from the minister and the MOH.
We recognise this proposed law may appear paternalistic and encroach on personal choice and liberties, however, given the wealth of evidence (over several decades) regarding the serious and unequivocal health hazards of cigarettes and related products, LCNM concurs that it is imperative for such a decisive and impactful strategy, if we, as a society, are to effectively combat the disingenuous tactics and sustained attempts of the tobacco industry to entice and enslave a new generation.
Cigarettes and related products remains the most identifiable and preventable risk factor for numerous non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including lung cancer. LCNM calls upon all elected politicians as representatives of the people to demonstrate responsible leadership and the political will to ensure this proposal receives unanimous bipartisan support when tabled in Parliament.
LCNM is confidant this proposed generational smoking ban once legislated can significantly reduce the future burden and cost of treating many NCDs.
However, legislation alone, while vital, is insufficient to bring about a generational endgame to smoking. Equally important will be the need for vigilant and sustained monitoring, and robust, consistent enforcement of the proposed law, once passed.
In tandem, education and awareness on the perils of smoking must continue, and LCNM remains very committed to such activities. We share the health minister’s vision that eventually, the next generation “will no longer know what a cigarette is”.
This letter was written by Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM).
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