Wednesday, November 28, 2007

RM15 million Spent On Smokes Everyday

That was what appeared on the inner pages of The Star of 22nd November 2007. The report originated from China Press which quoted Health Ministry Parliamentary Datuk Lee Kah Choon as saying. He regarded it as a worrying trend and smokers should quit the habit and spend the money on something beneficial.
Lets do some arithmatics and see how much is burnt in a year of 365 days - a whopping RM5,475,000,000.00! More than enough to bail out the PKFZ fiasco. Captain Yusoff of The Ancient Mariner will be happy to know that the bailout came from smokers who would just burn their money anyway.
The Ministry's Disease Control Unit also reported an upward trend in the number of young smokers. That is indeed worrying to every parents as your children may develop that habit too if you don't watch out or continue smoking infront of them and setting an example for them to follow. That was what my wife said of me when my sons were found to be smoking while still in schools. The father set the example, a bad one. Hantu Laut had his daughter to contend with.
Another statistic released was that 1 of 33 smokers is a female. The female smokers numbered about 274,000 in the nation. I wonder if the study include the few millions of migrant workers working in Malaysia.
When you are in a packed footbal stadium, you can observe the smokers lighting up their ciggy across the field. Every seconds of the time you can see flashes of the lighter being used to light up the ciggarette. I guess smokers tend to smoke even more when they are excited.
On November 24, 2007 The Stars put up another small one column news on page 33 with the title "Smokers taking up half of annual health budget". According to a health economist, The Government has to spend RM3 bil to RM3.8 billion each year from 2004 to 2010 on smokers treated in public hospitals for ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and chronic obstructive airway disease, said Prof Dr. Syed Mohamad Aljunid, senior research fellow at the Unite Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH). By the year 2010, the overall cost projected is RM480 billion said Prof Dr. Syed Mohamad, who is colloborating with five other academicians on a study of healthcare costs. "It costs taxpayers alot of money" he added.
His studies indicated that 25 percent of the population smoke.
We all know that smokers are paying a hefty tax for their pleasures but are they paying enough? If they are not enough then it means that the non smokers are also paying for their treatment beside having to bear the second hand smoke from the smokers which is reported to be even more dangerous. If that be the case than it is better for the government to increase the tax on tobacco so that the smokers themselves will pay for the treatment of the disease as a result of smoking.
Related article: Click here.

28 comments:

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
This is another reason to quit smoking eh?
I did read the article. This is a big-buck issue, I can say, adding up all the health issues arouse from the phenomena.
I hate to say this, but many of my friends are also in the same problem(although they don't really take it as a problem). What up with them, I don't know. But from what I observed, they have no plan to stop. I wonder how much money of their scholarship turned to smoke already.

Good day pak(",)

U.Lee said...

Hello Zawi, good post this.
Here in Canada there's no smoking at all public places, from restaurants, government offices, almost anywhere.....as well cigarette prices have gone to the moon! Stores get a BIG fine if selling to people below 18.
BUT! now big time smuggling has come back, cigarettes.....as well the Natives of North America...they were the ones who were the first to smoke, their famous peace pipes....from there got introduced to Europe, the rest is history.
They now started manufacturing cigarettes...cheap! $2.00 a pack of 20's vs $9.00 (Rgt 30) a pack of Marlboros! And of course these cigarettes have now started appearing in the major cities, making the authorities lintang pukang how to stop it.
But nobody fools around with the Mohawks, the Cree, Blackfoot, Ohjibway and many other tribes all over Canada....so lots of head scratching, moaning, grumblings. Nobody wants to go on the warpath, ha ha.
Oh well....
You have a nice day, Zawi.
Oh ya, you'll be receiving an invitation from me very soon. Lee.

Zawi said...

Akmal,
Yes I am doing my campaign now to help smokers to kick the habit of smoking. Gonna scare the shit out of them by displaying pictures of how bad a lung coated with nicotine look.
As long as they are in denial mode the smoker can't be helped to quit. They will proudly tell the world that their father and his father lives to be old before dying of lung cancer.
The problem is the mainstream medias are palying it down. Such reports are placed in obscure pages like page 33 of the national news in small headings which are barely noticeable.

Zawi said...

Lee,
Sorry, Akmal beats you to it. Canada is a different country from Malaysia. When they make a law they will enforce the law. The same laws are available here and most public places like in Canada are non smoking zones. Only that the enforcement is lacking. People smoke under the very sign that says "This area is a non smoking zone, any offender can be prosecuted". That is why you can see people smoking away at petrol stations though they may run the risk of smoking away the whole station. Worse off is when you see their own workers doing it.
Aha! Those Indian Natives at least have an exclusive ecs onomic activities. I gues s its payback times. Remember those day when their ancestors were intoxicated with liqours to tame them? Now its their turn to show the newcomers to their country who is really the boss by challenging the government to their right to free business. So be acute yourself and join them to make a business along the same line. You produce and they will retail them for you. Make your kill and then you stop.
By the way when are you going to stop smoking? It will be another great day when I can tell the world one day that 'Hey I managed to nag my good friend to come back to blogsphere and later nagged him again to quit smoking'. Hahahahhaa I will do anything to see the day.
When is your next post coming?
Have a good smoke today cos soon you are going to quit smoking my friend.

U.Lee said...

Hi Zawi, yes, I do smoke, my pipe, but only on occasions. No excuse, but pure habit when see my money jatuh or lompat on the stock market...I reach for my pipe.
I smoke cigarettes only when I get visitors from overseas, I call it 'airport tax', arhaaa ha ha. Otherwise, itu la dia. Maybe once a year or twice. I'm an 'on and off' smoker. I will go turkey sejuk one of these days soon. You bet. Lee.

elviza said...

Ok Pak Ok... I ll quit. I shall endevour to do my best to quit and not just saying it for sake of saying it (guitynyaaaaaa!!!)

On the other hand, did you watch on youtube what happened in the dewan rakyat recently? The kicking and shouting and the shame of it all! How outrageous. I am so sorry it happened in my beloved state.

Zawi said...

Lee,
Enjoy your smoke. The smell from tobacco smoke from a pipe is so nice. I dont mind it at all.
I remember when we were young, the nicotine sludge in a tobacco pipe was used to relieve the pain from the prick of the bone in the catfish side fin. It is called the 'sengat' just like a sting of the hornet. To the non expert handlers the catfish is a dangerous fish to handle. Till this day I wont dare handle a live catfish. A fried one is of course very delicious to eat.
Since you dont smoke like a locomotive I guess your body system can handle what little smoke that goes into your lung.
Anyway you need to support the natives in their only economic activities.

Zawi said...

elviza,
We wi ll be too glad to help you if you sincerely wish to quit. Give us your daily report on how many sticks you managed to reduce daily if you are not taking it cold turkey. If you are on cold turkey, report the number of days you manage to stay off it. Otherwise start the cold turkey from the next fasting month. You might have problem initailly but success will be sweet. Consider doing it for Luqman and you will be stronger for it. Dont worry much about the imminent weight gain as it only means you are getting healthier. A good excercise regime will counter any weight gain.
We will rejoice in your success.
I didnt see the Utube about the state assembly fracas but I read about it in the papers. I know the Datuk personally because he was one of my staff before he joined politics. Cant say too much in here.

Mat Salo said...

Bang Zawi... Aduh! This one cuts to the bone. Frankly, when I first saw your post I wanted to just get the hell out and take a quick drag. Ini lah problem nya smoker. Living in denial I admit. It's hard, but got to take one drag --oops- I mean one step at a time. Problem is I got 'bad' role models. Cyusof, a dear family friend is one, nothwithstanding the ability to bail out PKFZ! But thanks for the constant reminder. It's a battle, Bang.

Zawi said...

Mat,
We have experienced it all and we know how difficult to quit a habit and whatmore an addiction. Its good enough if you want to quit and tell everyone about it. You need the support from everyone especially from the smokers around u. It is often such friends that derailed our plan to succeed in quitting. Tell them your decision and ask them to help by not offering you ciggy when you stop buying. Stop the habit of offering ciggy to befriend another.
Now Elvza has decided to try and stop. The two of you alone has made it worthy for me to carry on this crusade to help smokers to quit. When you have quitted smoking entirely you will realize how bad is the smell of ciggarette and how awful is the breath of a smoker, something our spouse and children has been made to endure unnecessarily. Just do it for them and you will definitely succeed.
I tell you I wont kiss a smoker however beautiful they are cos of the awful smell.

zaitgha said...

Pak Zawi,

I salute your efforts to get people to quit smoking...as for me it all boils down to the smoker himself/her...they have to want to quit then we the people around them could support in whatever ways we can....

U.Lee said...

Hello Zawi, hey! You are sure knowledgeable re obats. Wow! First time I hear the pipe sludge will cure a catfish sengat? I will remember this, thank you.
Holy Smoke, saya kena ikan duri sengats lots of times too.
I do know how to hold a catfish without getting stung, but the big guys, 3 pounders sure can lompat and disco in my hand, ha ha, then kena sengat!
Used to go for udang galah fishing at Kuala Selangor, Tanjung Tualang, Perak etc...and sometimes will hook these catfishes. I don't eat, but throw back.
Re smoking my pipe, I'm not like the old KTM arriving station, ha ha...maybe twice a day...just put the pipe in my mouth like now reading your posting.
You keep well, my friend, Lee.

Zawi said...

Zaitgha,
It is true the effort must come from them. As long as they admit that they want to quit and want help, we should help and support them. I have been through it all. Only that ciggarrette addiction and habit ain't as bad as drug addiction.
Others around them must cooperate too by not offering them or smoking near them. Its those smokers who doesnt want to stop smoking themselves that often derail their attempt at it.
I will be very happy if we could help Mat Salo and Elviza first. If one of them succeed then thats reward enough. If both do manage to do it, its a bonus.
You too can play your part.

Hantu Laut said...

Zawi,
It will be a long and tough fight to get people to give up the habit.We have been there and are lucky to be able to discard it.For many it would not be so easy, but I am sure many, as they grow older and wiser,would eventually give up.

Zawi said...

hantu laut,
We are not here to change the world. If we can help a few friends to quit it will be good enough. For starters we have Elviza and mat salo who intend to quit. Lets help the two of them first and that will be something to rejoice already. They will definitely stop one day too but why wait? Why not we help them to quit now?

Zawi said...

U Lee,
Its all experiential learning my friend. It just happened in our life once and the memory of it stick but came back only after your mention of smoking the pipe. I guess if you clean the pipe too often, the sludge wont be much.
Anyway much more testings need to be done to prove the efficacy of the said treatment. Since you smoke pipes and fish the catfish why not do the experiment yourself and blog about it? I for one wont let myself to be stung by another catfish again hahahahaha. Whatmore if it's the ikan duri.
Dont rely too much on the pipe sludge to cure you of the sting by a rayfish though, could cost you your life.

Puteri said...

Zawi,

Good thing I never learnt to smoke! Doug is not a smoker either but when he meets his good friends, which is rare these days, he'll bring some cigars for them to enjoy.

I think smoking is a filthy habit. Bad for health, and the stale smell is just awful.

Keep up the good work, Zawi, good post!

Zawi said...

Puteri,
Lucky thing for you that non of you smoke as it will set as an example for the Duncan to follow.
If you observe the smokers habit, they have no qualms at all throwing away their ciggarette butts and crushing them under their feet as if it will be obliterated into thin air. For the non smokers, exposure to second hand smoke is even worse. So why start smoking which can only lead to regret later? I have learnt my lesson and I want others to learn from my experience.

changgeh said...

Zawi,
So it was you eh? Pak Idrus wrote to me yesterday that he met a blogger from Pasir Mas Kelantan for the first time, a Pak Blogger around my age, you had coffee at KLCC and would meet again next month.
Wi,Im a smoker myself, you know the 'rasa macang chang,rokok ssebatang' type.In simple term a social smoker, not the chain smoking 'ssambong puting' as what they call it here.
I managed to'not to smoke' for the whole month of Ramadhan but somewhere along Syawal its back to that old habit.If you asked me I thing boredom plays a significant role you. What say you brother?
Bye for now. Enjoy your GUIT. Take care. Hope to meet you someday.

Zawi said...

Changgeh,
It was me indeed. We had a good time over a bowl sized cup of coffee at his favourite coffee club above Kuni.
If you are 57 then we are the same age la and he is right I am from Pasir Mas.
Dont blame it on boredom to smoke. Blogging can keep u occupied all the time. You wont even have time to smoke. Another thing is unless you buy your own ciggy, you are smoking other peoples money. Ciggy is expensive now, people are reluctant to pass around ciggies like I used to do during my time when it costs only 14 sen a stick. So please help them by not smoking their ciggarette.
I started smoking other peoples ciggy too then buy my own. Thought I can stop anytime I want to but it didnt happen that way.
Pls read in my earlier post and you will see how I quit. It was difficult. So while you can quit, you better do it now. It will get more difficult everyday.
Now you can join mat salo and Elviza who has decided to TRY quitting the habit.
Selamat berkenalan.

jaflam said...

Zawi, lucky that I start very early and stop early too. I must say that I was just a social smokers then trying to keep mat salleh girlfriend happy ...but could not stand the smell in the morning. So giving up was very easy but then now they said "yang makan asap tu selalunya jin" so kind of difficult for them to change the habit.

Zawi said...

jaflam,
Lucky you. All those who manage to quit are lucky people really. Many people who picked up the habit wanted to quit but lack of will and support they fail to do it. Now that the price of ciggarette is getting higher and higher, the desire to quit is always there among smokers.
The urge to smoke when you are under pressure is extremely great. It maybe just a psychological effect that smoking relieves the pressure or if at all the nicotine somehow managed to dull your senses quite abit.
You have a reason to smoke then, even just to keep your mat salleh girlfriend happy. I guess minah Melayu will be happier with a non smoking boyfriend(husband).

zewt said...

pak zawi... i remember u wanted to quit for your kid's sake right? success yet?

Zawi said...

zewt,
For my son's sake I quit some years ago, cant remember how long but definitely more than 10 years ago. Now I am trying to help others who want to quit. Only those who want to quit can be helped.
Zewt success is sweet.
Thanks for the sweet bro. Sorry I cant comment on your 'oversized bra' as it will be too cheeky for an old man my age hahahaha.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Your campaign is getting better. Let me join eh. Mind if i link your posts at my site?

Zawi said...

Akmal,
I will be very happy if Akmal can help me in anyway. It wont be for me of course because it will be for our smoking friends. Your site is becoming very famous now so if you do something it will definitely help this cause very much. All you need to do is mention about the campaign I am doing in your next blog and more people will get to know about it. Please do whatever you can do to help. I think you can highlight about smoking among students of Institution of Higher learnings because they are using scholarship money to support the habit or their parents hard earned money if they are not on scholarship.
Thank you for wanting to help.

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Zawi,

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments you left in my entries.

Zawi, yes..the question of to smoke or not to smoke? What you do is a good thing. One must always pursue doing what one believe in.

I am so happy now there are more places that do not allow people smoking. That should be the way. They must not smoke in public spaces to be fair to the others.

My late dad was quite a chain smoker. But I still love him even with the habit. One day I went green and I never bought him cigarettes anymore from my overseas trip. He finally told me, 'my dear girl, I have been smoking for all my life, but I have been fit and well. It is not about the smoke, but it is about being happy!' Yes, my late dad was the epitome of a happy man.

I bought him his favourite cigarettes again. He was healthy till the end, Zawi. He left us due to old age and he had no serious ailment at all. A happy person is a healthy person even with a few bad habits.

So there Zawi, I know we can never remove this habit from the surface of the earth but I think yes, we can work at raising awareness as what you're doing now. It does help. Kudos!

Zawi said...

Ruby,
I am moved by what your father said of his happiness when he smoked. It is not right for us to deprive them of the little pleasures to smoke especially when they are at the tail end of their lives.
As I have often said, I am not anti smokers.
My focus now is to assist those who want to quit. To those who still prefer to continue smoking, by all means go on. They can continue to do so provided they respect the right of the non smokers to a clean air to breathe when smokers chose to light up in a public enclosed area.
Thank you for sharing with us your own dads experience and I hope to receive further support from you. Doing something for other people's good rather than our own good is definitley rewarding and I am not expecting them to even thank me for it.
Akmal did a very good post to support this cause.