The Department would like to congratulate Dr Tan Wei Leong on the successful completion of his Doctor of Public Health Viva Voce. He was supervised by Prof Dr Ng Chiu Wan and Assoc Prof Dr Nirmala Bhoo Pathy. The title of his thesis was “The financial and welfare impact of household tobacco expenditure in Malaysia. His paper on “Distribution of household tobacco expenditure and household affordability of tobacco products in Malaysia” has been accepted for publication in ASM Special Issue.
Summary: This project is mainly motivated by concerns about the non-health financial and welfare impact of tobacco-smoking on tobacco smokers and their households. This study found out that the household tobacco expenditure and household tobacco share in Malaysia was relatively low from 1993 to 2014 although the burden of tobacco-smoking was high in the same period. In addition, the population impoverishment from direct tobacco expenditure was present but gradually reducing from 1993 to 2014. As for the welfare impact on crowding out of essential goods and services due to direct tobacco expenditure, the crowding out impact was present but minimal. In a summary, the paradoxical finding on the low household tobacco expenditure and the minimal welfare impact from direct tobacco expenditure with a high burden of tobacco-smoking background would strongly suggest on the high affordability of tobacco products in Malaysia. Hence, fiscal and non-fiscal tobacco control measures shall be reinforced to combat the tobacco epidemic.