From Awareness To Action


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From Awareness To 
 Action
From Awareness To Action

AWARENESS alone is not the key, said Education deputy director-general (School Operations) Azman Adnan, as collaborative efforts among parents, teachers and students are also important to curb smoking and vaping habits among schoolgoers.

He expressed confidence that by consistently fostering a collective commitment among all stakeholders and instilling in students a strong sense of value and awareness of personal health, particularly by discouraging smoking and vaping habits, a positive student character can be cultivated.

Citing a recent incident in which students experienced adverse effects after utilising vape devices, he emphasised that this reflects the seriousness of the situation.

“This incident underscores the urgent need to put a halt to the vaping culture among school students due to the harm it poses,” he said, referring to a report of six students found vomiting by a teacher after inhaling a vape shared among themselves last month.

The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2022: Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) revealed that the prevalence of ecigarette and vape users had increased by 5.1% from 9.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2022.

“Though the number of students involved with smoking and vaping habits is small among five million students across the country, our willingness to curb it is crucial, and this should involve the entire ecosystem,” he said.

Azman was speaking at the launch of the healthy living campaign against smoking and vaping at Desa Mahkota Form Six College in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 13.

The healthy living campaign, initiated by the Education Ministry, sought to raise awareness about the detrimental impacts of smoking and vaping. The effort aligned with the Health Ministry’s ongoing initiatives, furthering the government’s goal of establishing Malaysia as a smoke-free country by 2040.

More than 10,000 schools took part in the campaign simultaneously, reaching out to a total of five million students nationwide.

The ministry, said Azman, has taken several measures leading up to the campaign, firstly by enforcing policies through two circular letters, explicitly stating that smoking is prohibited within school premises.

The second circular, released in 2015, focuses on the prohibition of using electronic cigarettes and vapes in schools, he added.

“We have also enforced efforts to reduce vaping and smoking habits in young children through supportive peer-to-peer educational programmes called ‘Duta Sahsiah Murid’ (Student Character Ambassador).

“These students serve as exemplary models for their peers, making them well-suited to share positive practices within their peer groups and beyond,” he told reporters after the campaign launch.

Azman said he believes that consistently educating students about the adverse effects of smoking, vaping and prohibited substances, including drugs, will effectively remind them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But joint effort, he said, is absolutely necessary to ensure that this vision is fulfilled.

“Educators and the community must stay vigilant, consistently alerting our students and children to the detrimental consequences of both smoking and vaping.

“The Education Ministry is dedicated to instilling strong moral values in our children. Consequently, we aim to prevent our children from straying away from the cherished principles we hold dear, as we believe that succumbing to the currents of modernisation may lead to adverse effects on both their physical and mental well-being,” he said.

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