IT IS World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) today and the theme this year is "Raising taxes on tobacco".
Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre coordinator and psychiatrist Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin said increasing the price of cigarettes had proven to be effective in reducing consumption in many countries.
"The New Zealand government has a policy of consistently increasing taxes on tobacco at yearly intervals and I think achieving their goal of a completely smoke-free nation by 2025 is entirely possible," said Dr Amer, agreeing this was a step in the right direction.
"An estimated six million people die from smoking-related diseases every year, and 10,000 of this number are Malaysians," added the psychiatrist, who is pursuing a PhD on smoking cessation in New Zealand.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) created WNTD in 1987 and it is observed on May 31 every year. Smokers are encouraged to abstain from cigarettes for the entire day.
"During this time, countries that have signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will be actively promoting awareness campaigns against tobacco consumption," said Dr Amer.
Malaysia is one of the 174 signatories of the FCTC, which it ratified on 2005. Currently, an estimated 23 per cent of Malaysians smoke and most of them are men.
Dr Amer said among the initiatives for the campaign this year was to promote the use of the #SmokeFreeMY hashtag on social media.
To help provide you with some ideas, Metro Online Broadcast (www.mob.com.my) interviewed Dr Amer on tips to quit smoking.
1. Give a reason
The first step to giving up cigarettes is to ask yourself: "Why do I want to quit smoking?" Whether it is for the sake of your health, family or to save money, having a reason helps strengthen your resolve.
An important question that many healthcare professionals ask to assess one's dependence on smoking is to find out how early in the day a smoker has their first cigarette. Smoking in bed, first thing in the morning is a clear sign of heavy dependence.Interview with Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, coordinator for the Universiti Malaya Nicotine Addiction Research and Collaboration Centre, for MOB's Top 10 Tips to Quitting Smoking.
2. How dependent are you?
Healthcare professionals will assess one's dependence on cigarettes by finding out how early in the day a smoker has to have his fix. Smoking in bed in the morning is a clear sign of heavy dependence.