On the right track

Posted by watchmen
May 4, 2024


By Dr. Joseph D. Lim

Malaysia is on the right track to end tobacco smoking, especially for those who might start on the habit.

There are plans to prohibit children born from January 1, 2007 onwards to smoke tobacco and cigarettes. Ever.

And they may not even buy or possess any type of tobacco and vape products even after they reach the age of 18.

The generational endgame (GEG) proposal, if approved, starts in 2025.

“Until then, we have to do everything we can to stop children from smoking and vaping,” The Star commented. Many children have taken to e-cigarettes and do not view vaping as harmful, the popular newspaper reported.

Nearly 190,000 smokers in Malaysia were children under the age of 12, according to a study in 2016. About 4.9 million children aged 15 and over were smokers, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019.

“Often, children who smoke have family members who are smokers. When they find cigarettes lying around, these children experiment by lighting up and taking a puff. Peer pressure is another factor influencing children to start smoking. In order to be part of a group, some children do not think twice about accepting invitations to smoke,” The Star reported.

There are also children who see smoking as a way of rebelling against the adults and commanding “respect” among their peers who are non-smokers, it said. “And there are those who have a desire to smoke and experiment with tobacco products after watching their film idols puffing away.”

Not only does smoking reduce children’s learning curve, it’s bad for their oral health.

In 2003, the Canadian Community Health Survey found that the prevalence of edentulism (or complete loss of teeth) was 15 percent among current smokers compared with seven percent among those who had never smoked.

Smokers were less likely to have visited a dentist in the past three years and more likely to report sensitivity of teeth, toothache in the previous month, pain in the mouth or face and social limitations because of teeth.

A survey in Finland on smoking and oral health found that nonsmokers reported more frequent healthy oral health behaviors than did daily smokers, with the exception that no difference in toothbrushing frequencies existed among women.

The survey was conducted to study smokers’ oral health behaviors and attitudes, and to determine if smokers were advised by their dentists to quit smoking, said Dr. M. Telivuo of the Department of Dental Public Health, University of Helsinki.

Daily smoking was associated with increased use of sugar in tea or coffee, and with more frequent alcohol consumption. Daily smoking was correlated with the number of missing teeth.

Fewer daily smokers than nonsmokers considered smoking to have harmful effects on oral health. The majority of daily smokers, however, wanted to quit.

Eight percent of daily smokers reported that they had been advised by their dentist to quit.

“Dentists need to provide patients with counseling on tobacco use because of the desire of many smokers to quit,” the survey concluded. “Counseling of smokers by the oral health team requires special attention and skills, because smokers’ health behaviors and attitudes appear to be less favorable to oral health compared to nonsmokers.”



Dr. Joseph D. Lim, Ed. D., is the former Associate Dean of the College of Dentistry, University of the East; former Dean, College of Dentistry, National University; Past President and Honorary Fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy; Honorary Fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantologists; Honorary Life Member of the Thai Association of Dental Implantology; and Founding Chairman of the Philippine College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@gmail.com or text 0917-8591515.



Dr. Kenneth Lester Lim, BS-MMG, DDM, MSc-OI, graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine, University of the Philippines, College of Dentistry, Manila, 2011; Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management, De La Salle University, Manila, 2002; and Master of Science (MSc.) in Oral Implantology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 2019. He is an Associate Professor; Fellow, International Congress of Oral Implantologists; Member, American Academy of Implant Dentistry and Fellow, Philippine College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail limdentalcenter@gmail.com./WDJ

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