PUTRAJAYA: Unregulated and widespread promotion on social media, as well as expos and exhibitions of smoking products, are among the factors influencing users, particularly children and teenagers, to become lifelong smokers.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that other factors include the appealing forms of smoking products such as toys and various flavors.

According to MOH, this issue is taken seriously and committed to being addressed through the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2024 [Act 852], which was gazetted on February 2 as a comprehensive form of control over all types of smoking products, including electronic cigarettes or vape.

Under Act 852, MOH will tighten restrictions on the sale, purchase, and use of all types of smoking products to minors under 18 years old.

“MOH will also continue to conduct smoking prevention advocacy programmes with various ministries, agencies, non-governmental organisations, and professional bodies. It is MOH’s desire and dream to realise the goal of a smoking-free nation by 2040,“ the ministyr said in a statement here today.

The statement was issued in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, celebrated worldwide on May 31 each year.

MOH underscored that smoking tobacco products is a major factor leading to complications of non-communicable chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer and chronic lung diseases.

According to the ministry, the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) shows that the percentage of teenagers aged 13 to 17 who smoke conventional cigarettes decreased from 13.8 percent in 2017 to 6.2 percent in 2022.

This year’s World No Tobacco Day theme is “Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference,“ which aims to call on all individuals and layers of society to combat the tobacco industry’s influence on children.

The theme aligns with the objectives outlined under Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which states ‘protects against the tobacco industry’s attempts to dilute and weaken effective and life-saving tobacco control legislation,‘ of which Malaysia has been a party member since 2005.