22nd NIH Scientific Conference, Kuala Lumpur – ITC Malaysia 2020 Findings

On 22nd and 23rd September 2021, at the 22nd National Institutes of Health Scientific Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the ITC Malaysia Project Team at University Malaya released a series of reports on the new findings on the impact of tobacco control policies on attitudes and behaviour among adult smokers and non-smokers in Malaysia from ITC Malaysia Survey Wave 1 (New Cohort) 2020.

The ITC Project team from the University of Waterloo in Canada, partnered with the University of Malaya Centre of Addiction Sciences (UMCAS) in August 2019 to develop and field the ITC Malaysia Wave 1 Survey (MYS1). This study was an extension of the previously approved ITC Southeast Asia Surveys that were conducted in Malaysia and Thailand between 2005 and 2014. Due to the ITC Project’s longitudinal focus, concerns of attrition in the six years that have passed since the last wave (i.e., Wave 6 was conducted in 2013-14), required that this wave of the ITC Malaysia Wave 1 (MYS1) Survey consist of an entirely new cohort and be conducted only in Malaysia. This allowed for cross-sectional analysis at Wave 1 with the prospect of new longitudinal analysis in subsequent waves.

The ITC Malaysia (New Cohort) Project officially commenced in May 2019 with planning and survey development, and the fieldwork was conducted from February 5 to March 3, 2020.

Findings from this research will be used to develop and push for the implementation of stronger tobacco control policies in support of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) towards achieving the ultimate goal of the tobacco control end game of 2040.

The main areas of these recommendations include support for e-cigarette (EC) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) regulations, understanding quit predictors, health promotion, and product regulation. It also recommends that smokers should be routinely offered help to stop smoking. From the ITC 2020 survey findings; Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin presented “E-cigarette prevalence among Malaysian adults and e-cigarette products used by cigarette smokers who vape” followed by Dr Farizah Mohd Hairi who spoke on “Reasons for using E-cigarettes (ECs) and support for EC regulations”.

Other ITC contributors/presenters include Dr Siti Idayu Hasan on predictors of quit intention among Malaysian smokers, Dr Muhammad Alfakri Mat Noh on the first study for the prevalence of HTPs, reasons for use and perception of harms among Malaysian smokers and Dr Ellappa Ghanthan Rajendran on the association of cigarette dependence and depression.

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