Global Impact: Dr Farizah Mohd Hairi’s Insightful Session on Nicotine Use Disorder

On the 28th of February, 2024, a remarkable event took place at Wisma R&D Universiti Malaya. The Fellowship in Addiction Medicine, organised by Universiti Malaya Centre for Addiction Science Studies (UMCAS), had the privilege of inviting Associate Professor Dr Farizah Mohd Hairi as a distinguished speaker.

Dr Farizah, an esteemed academic, delivered an enlightening talk on the Epidemiology and Impact of Nicotine Use Disorder in the Community. Her insights were drawn from her extensive research and experience in the field, providing a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2011, the average expenditure on cigarettes in Malaysia is significant, with RM 10.10 spent on a pack of 20 cigarettes and an average monthly expenditure of RM 178.80. Alarmingly, nearly 7% of smokers spend so much on cigarettes that they lack sufficient funds for food. The price elasticity of demand for cigarettes in Malaysia is -0.38, indicating that a 10% increase in prices results in a 3.8% decline in demand. (Reference: Institute for Public Health (IPH). (2012) Report of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Malaysia, 2011. Ministry of Health Malaysia.)

The impact of tobacco expenditures on poverty in Malaysia is profound. Approximately 38% of all households, including 44% of rural and 35% of urban households, incur expenditures on tobacco. On average, RM 73.19 per month is spent on tobacco products, accounting for 5.01% of total household consumption expenditures. The poverty impact of these expenditures is greater in rural households (0.89%) compared to urban households (0.46%), with an overall poverty impact of 0.60%. As a result, 35,463 households, or 199,092 individuals, are impoverished due to tobacco expenditures. (Reference: Ng CW, Poverty Impact of Household Tobacco Expenditures in Malaysia., 7th World Congress on Health Economics. Harmonizing Health and Economics., 12 Jul 2009 to 15 Jul 2009, International Health Economics Association, (International)

The harmful effects of smoking extend beyond the smoker. First-hand smoke is inhaled into the smoker’s lungs, while second-hand smoke, consisting of exhaled smoke and substances from the smouldering end of the cigarette, enters the atmosphere and is inhaled by others. Third-hand smoke refers to contamination on the surfaces of objects after the clearance of second-hand smoke. It is crucial for smokers to understand that they not only risk their own lives but also pose a danger to those around them, including their loved ones.

The event saw participation from both local and international attendees, with a significant presence from Africa and the Middle East. The session was interactive, with participants actively engaging in discussions, posing thought-provoking questions, and sharing valuable experiences from their respective workplaces.

The session proved to be highly fruitful, fostering an environment of learning and exchange of ideas. Dr Farizah expressed her joy in sharing her knowledge and contributing towards a smoke-free world. Her dedication to breaking the chains of addiction was palpable and left a lasting impact on the attendees.

This event underscores our department’s commitment to improving global health and combating addiction. We look forward to sharing more such enlightening sessions in the future.

This engaging piece of news was thoughtfully penned by Amir Hamzah, who is currently lending his expertise as a Research Assistant to the Nicotine Addiction Research Collaborating (NARCC) team. His insights and dedication to research are clearly reflected in the depth and quality of the article.

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