PETALING JAYA: Children are learning to smoke at an early age, no thanks to a new candy that resembles cigarettes.
The confectionery, marketed as “Ghost Candy” or “Smoke Candy”, is consumed by sucking on a straw that resembles a cigarette to produce a smoke-like effect.
The new fad came to light in a video on social media showing three children from SK Pekan Papar in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, “having a smoke”.
Checks by theSun showed that apart from being easily available in shops, the candy could also be bought online for just RM10 for a pack of 30.
However, it has yet to be ascertained if the ingredients in the candy posed a health risk.
In an immediate reaction, the Health Ministry said in a statement that its Food Safety and Quality Division was conducting checks.
Malaysian Community Care Foundation chairman Halim Ishak expressed concern that it would encourage children to pick up smoking.
“It is regrettable that children as young as seven are purchasing it,” he said in a statement.
“Something needs to be done immediately to curb this, especially now that the government is striving to create smoke-free zones nationwide.”
Halim said enforcement had to be tightened to ensure such items are withdrawn from the market until there was research on its impact on health.
Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association at the school, Mohd Fauzi Sahat, said complaints had been lodged with the Papar district health office.
Senior consultant paediatrician Dr Amar Singh agreed that the candy would encourage smoking.
He recalled that in the past, children could buy a gum that looked like a cigarette.
He said of greater concern was the fact that the children in the video were asked to demonstrate how they consumed the candy.
Watch the video through the link below:https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=327426514868156