Kuala Lumpur, Oct 8: In a concerted effort to tackle the growing issue of youth smoking and vaping, the Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Persatuan Mencegah Dadah Malaysia or PEMADAM), in partnership with health-focused NGOs Persatuan Kesihatan IKRAM Malaysia (Ikram Health) and Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (M3), has organized an intervention program aimed at B40 youth.
This initiative is part of the Malaysian Quit Smoking Services (mQuit), an initiative introduced by the Ministry of Health in 2015.
The program, which targets youths aged 14 to 18 in the Klang Valley, is a significant step in addressing the rising concerns surrounding smoking and vaping among Malaysia’s younger population.
PEMADAM, in collaboration with mQuit since 2020, has previously conducted various anti-smoking programs alongside other NGOs, providing valuable support and resources to aid the public in quitting smoking and vaping.
The intervention program represents a crucial milestone as it specifically focuses on B40 youth. Parents and youth participants attended a briefing that provided insights into the processes involved in quitting smoking.
The participants underwent tests such as Carbon Monoxide (CO) exhalation and Lung Spirometry to assess lung capacity, highlighting the detrimental effects of smoking and vaping on their health.
Datuk Kaswuri Keman, Chairman of the mQuit-PEMADAM-KKM Program, emphasized the importance of this initiative, citing that smoking and vaping often serve as gateways to drug addiction, a trend that they aim to address comprehensively.
Additionally, concerns have emerged regarding the infusion of drugs in vape liquids, further underscoring the urgency of this intervention.
Dr. Mohd Afiq Mohd Nor, President of Ikram Health, an NGO comprising medical professionals, was present to educate the youth about the hazards of smoking and vaping.
Supporting this initiative were Encik Mohd Dziehan Mustapa, Deputy Chairman of M3, and Encik Rashdan Rashid, Chairman of Parents Against Vape and Cigarettes (PAVAC).
These organizations have been actively advocating for the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 to be passed in Parliament.
Parents of the participating youth are encouraged to attend public briefings conducted by PEMADAM to gain insights into the reasons behind their children’s smoking habits and receive guidance on helping them overcome their addiction.
The program focuses on education rather than punitive measures to manage young smokers.
Dr. Afiq emphasized the potential long-term adverse effects of e-cigarettes and vapes on human health, stressing the importance of understanding the dangers associated with these products.
In a bid to create a healthier environment for the youth, Ikram Health is running a petition campaign urging Parliament to vote in favor of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, which aims to regulate the use of e-cigarettes and vapes.
Notably, there are currently no regulations governing the production, packaging, storage, sale, and distribution of e-cigarettes and vapes in Malaysia, allowing them to be sold, even to minors.
The attractive packaging and an array of enticing flavors have contributed to a concerning rise in vaping among teenagers, some of whom are drawn to these products due to their resemblance to everyday items such as pens or toys.
The intervention program seeks to address this pressing issue and extend a lifeline to B40 youth at risk of smoking addiction.
M3 Chairman, Mohd Dziehan, affirmed their commitment to protecting the health and future of Malaysia’s youth, equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to resist the allure of smoking and vaping.
This collaborative program, involving both public and private sectors, supported by Translab Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which conducts CO and Lung Spirometry tests, and the Ministry of Education, signifies a significant stride toward fostering healthier lifestyles among Malaysia’s youth.
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