KUALA LUMPUR: There has been more than a two-fold increase in the number of people who wish to quit smoking compared to last year.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba told the Dewan Rakyat today.
He said this big increase was during the start of the Movement Control Order on March 18.
Adham added this increase can be seen in the number of people who registered under the ministry’s MQuit, a free programme to encourage more smokers to kick the habit.
“ A total 3,442 people registered for the programme online at jomquit.moh.gov.my. from January until October this year compared to 1,678 last year.
“Of the number who registered their interest in the programme, 95% did so throughout the implementation of MCO,“ he said in reply to a question by Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa (PH-Parit Buntar).
Mujahid had asked the ministry to state the progress of smoking cessation programmes and their effectiveness.
Adham said the government had spent RM2 million in 2018 and RM2.8 million last year to fund pharmacology costs to encourage people to quit smoking prior to the implementation of MQuit.
MQuit is a public-private partnership (PPP) between professional entities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
It provides customised plans to quit smoking, resources and advice on quitting the habit, comprehensive follow-up sessions by dedicated healthcare professionals and nicotine replacement therapy to facilitate smoking cessation.
Adham said he had forwarded a request to the Finance Ministry to use funds collected from excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco for all smoking cessation programmes.
He said this would help the ministry to fund programmes to reduce the number of smokers in the country.
He said at present 21% of the country’s population or 4.8 million people were smokers.
He said the number of people who wanted to quit smoking stood at 2.3 million.
He added some 22,000 people who enrolled into MQuit have successfully been treated.