National Pharmacy News

Title: Anti-smoking fear tactic has failed
Date: 01-Sep-2005
Category: The Star
PETALING JAYA: Fear no longer works when it comes to curbing smoking, according to a consumer group. The public have become immune to the gory pictures of cancer-affected lungs displayed in anti-smoking campaigns, said Fomca adviser Datuk Prof Hamdan Adnan. 

He said a Tak Nak campaign poster that showed a crushed cigarette was instead reminding smokers to smoke. 

Prof Hamdan urged the Government to work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and look at new approaches to curb smoking.  

?They should mobilise youth and women?s groups to campaign in schools with the help of NGOs. 

?They have to target schoolchildren, teachers, youths and smokers,? he said, when commenting on Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek's remarks that the Tak Nak campaign was ineffective. 

Besides calling for cooperation between the Government and the NGOs, Prof Hamdan also said interpersonal communications approaches such as holding talks in schools should also be employed.  

Federal Territories public health deputy director Dr Sallehudin Abu Bakar, who pioneered the quit smoking clinics, however denied that the campaign was a total failure, and said Tak Nak involved several stages. 

?The initial stage of the campaign introduces Tak Nak as a brand and the second stage is on behavioural changes, which would take at least 10 years before we see visible results,? he said. 

He also said a survey by Universiti Putra Malaysia had shown that over 18% of smokers now realised the hazards of smoking, and the prevalence of smoking had dropped.  

?When we launched the campaign in 2003, we started seeing changes in the prevalence among male smokers. 

?And for females, the prevalence was 5% in 2000 and 2.3% in 2003, which means more have quit,? he said. 

Dr Sallehudin, however, said a combination of approaches was needed to stop youths from smoking. 

?Despite our campaigns, the Global Youth Survey shows that prevalence for those aged between 12 and 18 shot up from 16.7% to 18% in 2000 and is now 23%,? he said. 

Help University College psychologist Dr Brendan Gomez said the Government should adopt approaches that had been proven effective in other countries.

Friday August 26, 2005

The Star

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