A RECENT opinion poll claimed that majority (80%) of Malaysians believe that the adoption of tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategies in the country will help smokers quit traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The poll also revealed that over half of the respondents (58%) are aware of multiple studies that has proven THR products to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Of all the THR products available, about half of the respondents (51%) indicated vaping to be the most practical and safest way to quit smoking.
These revelations came from Clearing the Smoke: An Insight on Tobacco Harm Reduction, a recent opinion poll commissioned by DARE (Datametrics Research & Information Centre), a Malaysian based think-tank and conducted by Green Zebras, a leading market research company in Malaysia.
Steve Murphy, managing director and co-founder of Green Zebras Sdn Bhd, said: “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.
“An overwhelming majority (95%) said that the Malaysian government must be involved in implementing THR strategies in Malaysia.
“In fact, if less harmful alternatives to traditional cigarettes are proven to be effective in reducing smoking levels in the country, then 98% of those surveyed would be supportive of the Government adopting the THR approach.”
In-depth analysis conducted by DARE on THR practice globally have revealed that harm reduced products such as vape are not only less harmful but also effective in reducing smoking prevalence.
Pankaj Kumar, managing director of DARE, said: “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.”
“Malaysian policymakers need to take the right steps and in order to fully harness the potential of vape as a harm reduced product, regulation is critical. The regulatory framework must be well-defined and take into consideration the public health opportunities presented by vape products.
“Sensible regulation and taxation regime that is differentiated from tobacco needs to be put in place to encourage smokers to switch to vape.”
He added: “Findings from the survey will be used to develop a comprehensive report on the benefit of THR practice which will be launched in mid-October 2021.”