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Trends Health experts hope the Malaysian government will pay attention to tobacco harm reduction products

The Malaysian government hopes to reduce the number of smokers in the country by 15% by 2025. However, they hope to achieve this goal through regulation and taxation, rather than developing less risky nicotine products.

Previous measures such as raising taxes and the price of tobacco in a bid to reduce consumption had not only been ineffective, but also catapulted the growth of the illegal cigarette market.

At the 3rd 2020 Virtual Science Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction in September, public health expert Professor Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said that strategies to reduce tobacco harm can be used as an alternative. However, this will face many obstacles because it still has not been generally welcomed by Malaysians.

She said that in addition to the notion that e-cigarettes may increase smoking channels for young people, there are also people who worry about the efficacy of non-tobacco nicotine products. She also added that there is another problem that there is no alternative to tobacco products, the electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS). )) and heat non-combustible (HnB) products, such as IQOS.

Sharifa was a member of the panel at the leadersmeeting on "reducing the harm of tobacco in low- and middle-income countries." She told the panel that the government is taking a tougher stance and plans to introduce an independent tobacco control law to To replace the 2004 Tobacco Products Control Regulations, it seeks to strengthen the control of various tobacco products.

She said that the new bill will treat nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and HNB devices, as tobacco products, which will be enforced and may be completely banned. She said: This means that only non-nicotine e-cigarettes are allowed on the market. This will only lead to smokers reducing the safer optionsof transitioning to safer practices and choices.

She added that due to the lack of burning of tobacco, combustible cigarettes are completely dangerous to the smoker and the people around them. In addition, the large supply of contraband and illegal cigarettes on the market makes the situation worse.

Sharifa also admitted that after implementing a strict smoking strategy nationwide, the country's smoking rate has dropped significantly. However, she said that this is not entirely acceptable, because it is impossible to determine whether the former users switched to prohibited cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and add-in combustion products, or whether they actually quit smoking.

Currently, there is no proper research on the natural environment, but Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is very common in Malaysia. However, from an implementation perspective, it does have some problems, namely the lack of accessibility and standardization in urban and rural areas, as well as in rural areas. "Many studies have shown that all types of nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, ENDS and NRT, are reducing persistent smoking. The ratios are almost similar."


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