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Facts about Tobacco & Smoking

Why is there a big issue with tobacco and smoking?

  • It is the only legal consumer item that is highly addictive and kills half of its regular users.
  • Linked to various health problems – eg : respiratory, cancer, heart.

What are the types of tobacco smoking?

Smoking may be in the forms of :

  • Cigarettes.
  • Cigars (Cheroot / Cigarillos).
  • Tobacco in pipe.
  • Seesha (flavoured water-smoking ; Kamar).

Is there any data on the impact of smoking in Malaysia?

  • About 50% of Malaysian men (18 years and above) smoke.
  • About 20% teenagers smoke.
  • 85% of teenagers end up as cigarette addicts.
  • An estimated 3,500 out of 10,000 deaths are related to smoking in Malaysia each year.

What makes a smoker addicted to cigarette?

  • Cigarettes contain nicotine which is very addictive, much like heroine and cocaine.
  • Repetitive smoking leads to addiction or dependence.Why is smoking dangerous?

Smoking is :

  • Related to tobacco related diseases e.g. cancers and heart disease, respiratory / breathing problems.
  • Gateway to illicit drug (dadah) abuse.


How is smoking dangerous?

  • When smoked, the cigarette releases about 4000 poisonous chemicals.
  • Approximately 63 of these chemicals may cause cancer.

Can people surrounding the smoker get the ill-effect?

Yes you can unwittingly become a passive smoker i.e. smoking second hand smoke that comes from a smoker and get the same undesired outcomes like asthma, heart disease etc.

What are the dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke?

Of the 4000 poisons the more well-known ones are :

  • Tar (material in road-making).
  • Ammonia (material found in floor cleaner).
  • Napthylamine (mothball).
  • Arsenic (termite poison).
  • Nicotine (the addictive component).
  • Cadmium (found in batteries).
  • DDT (mosquito poison).
  • Formaldehyde (to preserve dead bodies).
  • Butane (gas that kills).
  • Methanol (rocket fuel).
  • Hydrogen cyanide (poison).
  • Toluene (solvent).
  • Carbon Monoxide (poisonous gas).

What are the diseases related to smoking and may cause death?

  • Airway diseases (Breathing Problems).
  • Lung cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Nose-throat cancer.
  • Mouth cancer.
  • Food tube (aesophageal) cancer.
  • Heart disease.
  • Renal cancer.
  • Stomach (Peptic) ulcer.
  • Stroke.

Is passive smoking less dangerous?

No it is the reverse because :

  • Compared to the smoke that smokers take in, second hand smoke contains :
    • 2 times the nicotine.
    • 3 times the tar.
    • 5 times more carbon monoxide.
    • 50 times more dangerous chemicals.

Are there any law and regulations on tobacco smoking?

Yes, it is a crime for teenagers to smoke, buy or even to handle any tobacco products. Smoking is prohibited in many places including :

  • Schools.
  • Hospitals and clinics.
  • Government buildings.
  • Lifts.
  • Airplanes.

When is smoking considered an addiction?

  • You get the general feeling of uneasiness and craving when not smoking.
  • Some symptoms arise and they may include :
    • Bodily symptoms :
      • Fidgeting.
      • Trembling.
      • Faster heartbeat.
      • Shallow breathing.
    • Thought patterns :
      • Thinking of wanting another puff of cigarette.
      • Having anxious thoughts and worries.
      • Inability to concentrate.
    • Emotional patterns :
      • Irritability
      • Anxiety
      • Edginess.
      • Restlessness
    • Behavioural patterns :
      • Decline in school attendance discipline.
      • Dropping out of school.
      • Change in attitude and behaviour.
      • Involvement in crime e.g. stealing to fund habit.

Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Nor Saleha bt. Ibrahim Tamin
: Prof. Madya Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon
: Dr. Zarehah bt. Dato’ Mohd Zain
Reviewer : Dr. Iskandar Firzada b. Osman