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Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Strategies Work? Malaysians Seem To Think So Says Study

Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Strategies Work? Malaysians Seem To Think So Says Study

It’s said the in the UK, 2 million people managed to quit smoking by choosing the alternative.

Akmal Hakim

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Smoking is one hard habit to quit, but there are those who believe that there are powerful tools that can help people put those little death sticks down for good.

A recent study commissioned by Malaysian based think-tank Datametrics Research & Information Centre (DARE) and marketing research firm Green Zebras, wanted to look at how the public was responding to Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) strategies and products in Malaysia.

In short, THR is simply a public health approach that’s being used by nations accross the world to reduce the risk from cigarette smoking by encouraging people to switch to less harmful alternatives like e-cigarettes, vape and other nicotine products – besides, of course, getting them to quit smoking altogether.

(Credit British American Tobacco)

In places like the United Kingdom (UK) THR strategies, especially vaping, have helped 2 million smokers quit traditional cigarettes between 2011 and 2019 and proven to be a popular and safe choice for those looking to kick the habit.

Now back to the local study…

Though they didn’t mention who or how many people that was actually surveyed, the ‘Clearing the Smoke: An Insight on Tobacco Harm Reduction’ report determined that a majority of Malaysians believe that THR was indeed the way to go to get people to quit traditional tobacco cigarettes and that the government should play a bigger part in it.

Polls show 80% of the respondents agreeing that THR works because they’ll be able to switch to less harmful alternatives, while 58% are aware that THR products are proven to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. 51% of respondents also find that vaping was the most practical way to quit smoking and was safer than cigarettes.

(Credit: freepic.diller/Freepik)

Meanwhile, the survey noted 50% of respondents believing that the government wasn’t doing enough to implement these strategies, while 95% and 98% of the respondents respectively say that the government should work on implementing THR methods in Malaysia and that they are supportive of that move.

DARE Managing Director Pankaj Kumar explained that the polls show that Malaysian policymakers need to take the right steps to take advantage of THR strategies to win the battle against cigarettes.

The findings from this opinion poll is timely as it provides a better understanding of Malaysians’ perception of THR and how vaping can become a powerful tool in reducing smoking prevalence in Malaysia.

DARE Managing Director Pankaj Kumar

The same was said by Green Zebras Managing Director Steve Murphy who said that “the opinion poll shows that most Malaysians are well aware and understand the concept of THR strategies, although it is relatively new in the country.”

They say that they’ll release a more comprehensive report on the benefits of THR practices sometime in October 2021. So stick around to TRP if you’d like to take a puff of that.


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