Controlling Shisha Smoking in Malaysia

Topics: Tobacco, Hookah, Nicotine Pages: 3 (992 words) Published: October 31, 2011
The Malaysian government ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, committing itself to implement strong tobacco control policies. The rules and regulations stipulated by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) apply to all tobacco products and not only cigarettes. 168 Parties from various states, representing 86.44% of the world’s population are now Parties to the Convention. Consequently when Articles 10 and 11 call upon countries to regulate tobacco products, that regulation will include tobacco consumed by use of the waterpipe. The regulation of tobacco products includes health warnings, information about contents and emissions, as well as packaging and labelling. All these elements and others indicated in Articles 10 and 11 of the WHO FCTC are pertinent to the waterpipe as they are to all methods of tobacco consumption.

In Malaysia, shisha smoking is a popular new trend among young people. There are shisha cafes and lounges appearing across the province, many of them situated in towns and cities with a university or college. Smoking rates among young adults are already too high, and the attraction of smoking exotic flavoured shisha, coupled with the belief that it is relatively benign, can only force smoking rates even higher. As well, there are currently no public health requirements for hookah bars, despite the fact that sharing hoses poses a real risk of transmitting communicable diseases.

Apart from that, employees and patrons at hookah bars are being exposed to second-hand smoke which is damaging to public health. Smoking in public places also undermines efforts to enforce the Malaysian Smoke-Free Air Law, as well as generally erodes public confidence in the rule of law. In addition, poorly labeled shisha products are widely available at retail. These consumer products, which lack required health warnings, tax stamps, ingredient lists and other information such as nicotine content, leave Malaysians...
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