Tobacco kills. It causes four million deaths per year and there are 1.1
billion smokers. Half of these deaths occur in the productive middle age. By
2030, it will cause 10 million deaths per year if the smoking patterns do
Every day, thousands of young people around the world are
trying their first cigarette and 80,000 to 100,000 are becoming regular
smokers, often precipitating a lifetime of addiction and untimely death.
The World Health Organisation has reported that unless we take every
action to change the trend, 250 million children alive today eventually will
die from smoking. Those who die from smoking die on average 14 years
earlier. One third of them will die prematurely because of their dependence
In the future, tobacco will become the leading cause of death and
disability, thus, causing more deaths worldwide than HIV, TB, suicide and
homicide. Tobacco is a dangerous product and hazardous to health. Four
thousand compounds have been identified in tobacco smoke and at least 43
chemicals in tobacco smoke have been determined to be carcinogenic. TAR --
used in making roads; naptilamine -- used in making paint; hydrogen cyanide
-- used a poison gas; benzyl alcohol and amyl alcohol and ammonia that
gives urine it smell. Tobacco also contains nicotine, a substance that is
recognized as being addictive. Tobacco dependence is also listed in the
International Classification of Diseases.
Tobacco must be seen as a drag, not as a mere agricultural product.
Smoking causes avoidable diseases, premature deaths and unnecessary
suffering. Ecologists consider tobacco production and consumption as
wasteful in all aspects.
There are more than 25 tobacco related diseases known today including
cancers of the lungs, lips, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas,
larynx, trachea, bronchus and urinary bladder.
About 90% of lung cancer deaths, 80% of cases of chronic bronchitis and
emphysema and 20 to 25% of coronary heart disease and stroke deaths are
attributable to tobacco use. Nicotine itself has wide-ranging effects. In
increases heart rate, blood flow and blood sugar. In Malaysia, it is
estimated that tobacco causes 10,000 deaths per year. The prevalence
of smoking among adult Malaysian males is 47.2%. The prevalence of current
smokers is high especially among the Malay male (55.6%) as compared to the
Chinese male (34.1%) and Indian male (33.4%). It is estimated that 28,000
deaths a day will take place in the future if smoking patterns do not
To sustain an addiction which would otherwise tend to die out, the
tobacco industry spends millions of dollars on advertising. This is
thwarting the effort of both the government and non-government agencies to
make Malaysians free from the bad habit. The Malaysian Medical Association
Committee on Action on Smoking and Health has played a significant lead role
in organizing the annual National No Smoking Week and stop smoking
activities in the country for the past 20 years.
Currently, there is an immense wave of opinion against smoking and this
is progressively changing behavior towards a healthier lifestyle in
Malaysia. It is one of the important activities towards vision 2020. The
International Stop Smoking and Win program (No smoking month 1st May - 31st
May 2006) is a global event aimed at encouraging smoking cessation. This
program aims to encourage people to stop smoking with a positive incentive.
It also helps to inform the general public about harmful effects on health
by tobacco consumption. It increases awareness of the community, especially
among teenagers, about the hazards of tobacco. The program is a global joint
event involving at least 100 countries and expects 750,000 to one million
participants worldwide to give up smoking for at least a month. we must
encourage our youth not to smoke and educate the community about the
importance of a tobacco-free environment.