Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Research findings refuted, what does the UPM don has to say in reply?

Dr Chua, the Health Minister, while refuting a Universiti Putra Malaysia study that more than one million smokers in the country had quit smoking, said that the university should have done more research.

We checked and found the figures are not correct. We counterchecked with the cigarette companies and they admitted the number has actually gone up.

We hope when universities do studies related to medical condition or services, they should not just depend on data input.

They should also get feedback from us before making and publishing the conclusion,” he added, maintaining the ministry’s stand that the number of smokers – especially among women – is going up."

What does this means to the academician at Universiti Putra Malaysia, especially those at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences? This research was conducted using IRPA (Intensification of Research in Priority Areas) fund given out by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry. What does the associate Professor has to say? I can't find Associate Prof Lekhraj Rampal personal or official homepage, but his particulars are here. What does the statement by the minister say about the don's scholarship?




The Star Online > Nation

Wednesday August 24, 2005

Cigarettes: Ban on 14-stick packs put off

PUTRAJAYA: Cigarettes in packs of 14 will still be in the market until 2010, following a Cabinet decision to defer the ban on the sales of such packs.

Announcing this, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the decision was made in the interest of the 13,000 tobacco farmers in Terengganu and Kelantan.

“The Cabinet, during a recent discussion on ratifying the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, felt that cigarette packets of anything less than 14 should not be in the market.

“So a pack of 14s can still be in the market until 2010. That is the Cabinet decision,” he told reporters after launching his ministry’s Merdeka celebrations here yesterday.

“That decision was made because tobacco farmers in Terengganu and Kelantan have been unable to move on to other cash crops and they need a longer period for adjustment,” he added.

The decision to ban packs of 10 cigarettes from next year, however, remains.

The Government had decided last year to limit the sale of cigarettes to packs of 20s from next June.

Dr Chua said the ministry will be meeting tobacco companies on the best way to put up warning signs on the dangers of smoking.

“We need feedback from them. We can assure the cigarette companies that we will give them a fair hearing and will not compromise on their branding,” he added.

The minister refuted a Universiti Putra Malaysia study that more than one million smokers in the country had quit smoking, saying that the university should have done more research.

“We checked and found the figures are not correct. We counterchecked with the cigarette companies and they admitted the number has actually gone up.

“We hope when universities do studies related to medical condition or services, they should not just depend on data input.

“They should also get feedback from us before making and publishing the conclusion,” he added, maintaining the ministry’s stand that the number of smokers – especially among women – is going up.

Dr Chua also admitted that the Tak Nak anti-smoking campaign launched early last year had not been effective.

“We are launching a new Tak Nak campaign, which will be featured more on television and involve NGOs. There will be no more billboards.”

Related Story:
A mockery of the Tak Nak campaign

© 1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)



Peer pressure leads to smoking


Peer pressure is the main reason youths smoke. An astonishing 46.6 per cent of those aged between 15 and 25 years said they lit their first cigarette when a friend asked them to try it.

Equally disturbing is that 36.7 per cent of youths in this age group smoked their first cigarette "for fun".

Associate Prof Lekhraj Rampal, of Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang, said: "If we tackle the problem of smoking among this age group, they will not grow up to be adult smokers."

The other reasons youths smoked were to ease tension (8.1 per cent) and they thought it was stylish (2.7).

"Some even gave the excuse that since a parent smoked, they did too," he said, adding this was 1.8 per cent.

Prof Rampal was lead researcher of a 10-month study, carried out by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences last year, which polled 1,046 youths on this topic.

The study, funded by the Intensification of Research in Priority Areas under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, also polled 4,705 youths, aged between 15 and 25 as well, to gauge the number of smokers.

Of the 2,080 male youths, 39.2 per cent were smokers while for females, it was 1.2 per cent of the 2,625 respondents.

Of the 1,229 Malay male respondents, 46.3 per cent were smokers and for the 1,632 female respondents, it was one per cent.

The study also polled 340 Chinese males and 19.7 per cent responded that they were smokers.

"In the case of the 374 Chinese female respondents, 2.1 per cent were smokers."

Of the 232 Indian males polled, 21.6 per cent were smokers while of the 345 Indian females, less than 0.5 per cent were smokers.

"In other words, 18 per cent of people in this age group are smokers," he said. Dr Rampal, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Medical Association’s committee on Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said the committee was willing to offer technical expertise to the authorities to curb smoking among youths.


© Copyright 2004 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.

2 Comments:

Blogger howsy said...

I was a student at the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty and although I'm not familiar with what Prof Rampal does, I'm pretty sure that he deals a lot on the epidemiology and promotion of smoke-quiting . IMHO, I personally think that his findings are not conclusive and I'm not sure whether his findings were published in reputable journals. As the IRPA funds from public funds, I think the public deserves to know more about the methodology and the findings of the study; i.e. transparency and availability of information here.

9:20 PM, August 24, 2005  
Blogger aznijar said...

Thanks for the visit and comment.

I do agree about your view on the public's right to the findings, as public money was used for the so-called research!

No comment on his findings, for I haven't read it yet, :), but the Health Minister must have read it!

4:12 PM, August 26, 2005  

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