Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Number Of Smoking Women Jumps 100 Per Cent

The number of smoking Malaysian women jumped 100 per cent in 2003 compared to 1996, the Dewan Rakyat was told Tuesday. Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Ministry Lee Kah Choon said 2003 saw an eight per cent growth in the number of women smokers compared with four per cent in 1996.

The statistics were based on the ministry's second National Health Morbility survey in 1996 and a Universiti Putra Malaysia study in 2003. The study also revealed that the increase in the number of women smokers was noted in both rural and urban areas.

Lee said the ministry had identified four factors, namely physiology, psychology, social and environment, to be the main influence that promoted the smoking habit among the feminine gender. Replying to a question from Datuk Goh Siow Huat (BN-Rasah), Lee said the physiology factor influenced urban women to smoke as they thought the habit promoted weight loss. "The psychology factor is linked to image, addictive and to overcome low self-esteem as the smokers isolated themselves and make cigarettes their companion," Lee said.

He said a lot of women were also influenced by their peers and family members who smoke. Lee said the tobacco companies' aggressive promotional activities, including handing out free cigarettes and sponsoring sports carnivals, further worsened the situation.

This is definitely not a good trend either in the short or long-term. The severe detrimental effects of smoking are by now universally known and accepted, save for the tobacco companies who will not acknowledge it, even if some of their own kith and kin are killed by this dangerous habit.

However in women, the risks and implications are multiplied several fold. The incidence of foetal abnormalities has a direct link to smoking mothers. The effects of this foolish habit has consequences that go beyond the individual or the family; it has grave dangers for the nation and the well being and health of future generations.


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7:37 PM GMT+8  

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