Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Socio-Economic Status and Smoking

A recent report in Lancet, found that people in the lower social economic group, have a 2x increased risk of dying, and that half the deaths could be attributed to smoking. This is of great social concern, as smoking related disease has sever impact on the health budget of any country. We already know that people in lower socio-economic groups have a greater tendency to smoke.

This was essentially an epidermiological study, involving USA, Canada, Wales, England and Poland. People of the lower social group were 50% less likely to reach 70 years of age when compared to people in the higher economic group. One of the reason is the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks is those who smoke, from the lower social economic group.

My observation is that more and more measures have been taken by the Malaysian government to reduce smoking, including the "tak nak" program, the no smoking flights by MAS and also the mass media campaign to educate the public on the dangers of smoking. It is heartening to note that many public places are tobacco free. Having said this, much more needs to be done, including stopping the sale of tobacco, stopping substitute branding by tobacco companies (dunhill can't advertise directly but brings out dunhill belts and men's wear), and stricter enforcement of no smoking in restaurants. Well, I must say that so far the government have taken the right steps, that is at least as far as smoking is concern.

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