IPOH, March 8 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today said that a total of 12,400 people had managed to quit smoking under the Ministry's smoking cessation counselling service “mQuit” programme.
“This is the figure we have for the year 2016 to 2017. We can assure that all of them have quit smoking after attending the programme,” he told a press conference after declaring YMCA Ipoh as a non-smoking area.
Dr Lee also said there are also some participants who manage to reduce the amount of smoking under the programme.
“For example, some would have smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, but after attending the programme they manage to reduce it to one pack,” he said.
“Our aim is to stop smokers from smoking. If they can't stop smoking, at least we hope they would not smoke in front of others. This is what we are trying to achieve,” Dr Lee added.
To date, Dr Lee said that the “mQuit” programme is offered at 731 health clinics, 46 government hospitals and 164 private facilities which have been granted accreditation.
Dr Lee said that at the moment there are 21 per cent adult smokers and 11.7 per cent teenage smokers.
“This is not an encouraging trend. We are taking this seriously as percentage of smokers recorded among teenagers is not coming down.
“This is probably because of the e-cigarettes and vape trend which lead them to nicotine addiction, where the youngster hook up with it after trying it. This is why we are putting in measure to control e-cigarettes and vaping,” he said.