Cigarettes: Should We Further The Ban? 

By: Nur

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Tobacco related illnesses kill up to  30,000 Malaysian citizens.

Every Year.

Everyday our atmosphere is submerged in pollution. 

Are the eyes of our society clouded from the real danger smoking can cause? 

Malaysian society deems that there is nothing wrong with ‘coffee shop’ smoking. But has this norm taken a turn for the worst? Numerous cases of fatality have increasingly emerged, which is why we should further extend the bans on this harmful substance by enforcing our laws and developing our education.

On January 1, 2019 the Malaysian Minister of Health implemented a ban on using cigarettes in public eateries. This is a huge advancement the government has made. But this does not cover the fact, that citizens choose to ignore these bans. Cigarettes harm both development and the environment, so why continue using them?

The Malaysian Tobacco Atlas states there are over 5 million smokers in Malaysia, out of 30 million people. That’s over 20%. This does not represent the citizens who did not take the survey, including teenagers. Smoking harms the development of the human brain, especially that of a young, underdeveloped child. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya states that over 600,000 people die of secondhand smoking. And children? They make up 28% of these deaths. 

You might not be able to see the physical harm caused to these children, but the internal damage is lethal, leaving a dark, smoky future for our country.

Why should the rest of us suffer because of the irresponsible choices made by smokers. Because it’s normal? Relaxing? Apart of “Malaysian Culture”? This is sadly true, as I myself am growing up in this type of environment. 

No matter where, there will always be a group of smokers present; teenagers, middle aged men & women, even the elderly. 

Older generations neglect to acknowledge that they are the role models of tomorrow’s generation. Supporting this idea of ‘coffee shop’ smoking is just allowing the youth to fall into the pits of addiction. Now, I’m not entirely blaming elderly people for defending what they are accustomed to, because they too were lacking the education needed surrounding cigarettes when they were in school. But now, education shouldn’t be a problem, considering the technological advances made since then.  But why are there smokers starting as young as the age of 7? Why are around 44,000 children from the ages of 10-14 years old smoking?

Malaysian law states that cigarette sales are only available to those 18 and over, but it’s never followed considering the fact that even 1st graders are able to get their hands on a carton. What’s the use of law when citizens don’t obey, and selfishly break it for their own benefits. These children are exposed to harmful substances so easily because there are no authority to tell them otherwise. Businesses are ignoring the fact that they are causing the death and destruction of our society. 

By enforcing our laws, and reinstating authority over the sales of cigarettes to younger generations, this will create a safer environment as they will not be exposed to cigarettes sales so easily. By having more authority, this teaches the younger generations to follow the law to heart, instead of trying to find loopholes or backdoors and damaging their morals. 

Furthermore, education on cigarettes should increase. In schools. In offices. In public spaces. Education on this matter will be beneficial, especially to the younger generations as we are most vulnerable to fall into addiction. Enhancing education will allow citizens to fully understand the consequences of smoking, decreasing the desire to smoke.

Furthering our bans on smoking will help purge citizens off this bad habit, and make our country progressively healthy. Smoking isn’t cool, nor aesthetic. Smoking is lethal, and will continue to bring our country down. 

By stopping now, the future of our generations will not fall into the epitome of their destructive cultural norm.

 

Works Cited

Kannan, Hashini. “ Five Million Smokers in Malaysia, Survey Shows.” Home, News Straight Times, 3 June 2016, http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/149526/five-million-smokers-malaysia-survey-shows.

K, Raymond. “Ban on Smoking in Eateries Is against Malaysian Culture.” Home, News Straight Times, 20 Dec. 2018, http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/12/442305/ban-smoking-eateries-against-malaysian-culture.

“Malaysia.” Tobacco Atlas, American Cancer Society , 2019, tobaccoatlas.org/country/malaysia/.

Muthiah, Wani, et al. “Smoking Ban Starts Today.” Nation | The Star Online, 1 Jan. 2019, http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/01/01/smoking-ban-starts-today/.

“Smoke and Health Photos.” Shutterstockhttp://www.shutterstock.com/search/smoke+and+health?image_type=photo&language=en&search_source=base_related_searches.