Smoking is a widespread habit everywhere in the world, but especially in Malaysia.
It’s ingrained and seen as a social activity, making it a part of the fabric of the country.
But what age do most smokers start in Malaysia?
Understanding when and how smokers start smoking can help the government create better public health initiatives, and consumers make smarter choices.
In this post, we’ll tell you at what age smokers start and the primary causes that lead to smoking. You’ll also learn the current state of affairs in Malaysia and how the country is addressing the tobacco issue.
What Age Do Smokers Start?
Most people who started smoking as teenagers continued to do so through their adult years. According to a 2015 survey, 80% of adult smokers in Malaysia began smoking before the age of 21 years. Of Malaysian adults over the age of 15, 22.8% were current smokers.
According to this study, 54.3% of youth smokers in Malaysia get cigarettes from commercial sources.
For most young smokers, it can be traced back to cultural and social factors. Peer pressure and the desire to fit in with peers are big reasons why teenagers start smoking.
What Causes People to Start Smoking?
Smoking is a widespread habit with potentially severe health consequences. For this reason, understanding the causes can help to curb the smoking habit of you or your loved ones.
Here are the most common reasons why people start smoking:
Peer pressure is easily one of the largest contributors to picking up that cigarette and lighter in the first place.
The awkward years between childhood and young adulthood are often filled with insecurity and frustration stemming from hormonal and physical changes and a newfound independence in their lives.
In the teenage years, young people tend to rely heavily on their friends for affirmation and social support. That’s where cigarettes come from. If a friend suggests doing it, it’s all too easy for peers to join in as well.
The person who doesn’t do it is seen as afraid to try something risky, leading to public embarrassment.
Growing up in a household where parents or other family members smoke can normalise the behaviour. Children often mimic the actions of their parents and older siblings.
It’s common for children to look up to their parents as role models, so it’s no surprise if they begin to copy their behaviours and mannerisms, too.
Most people turn to smoking to cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. However, it may also come at the risk of compromising health.
Who Is Most Likely to Become Addicted to Smoking?
Nicotine is the largest contributor to whether someone becomes addicted to smoking.
According to a 2015 survey, the prevalence of smoking is higher among men and those with lower education levels in Malaysia.
In addition, 22.8% of Malaysian adults over the age of 15 are current smokers, so smoking is certainly prevalent among the youth.
Generally, the more often and longer a person smokes, the greater the risk of addiction.
What Is Malaysia Doing to Address Tobacco Use?
The Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, which would prohibit the use of tobacco and tobacco products to anyone born in 2007 onward, was tabled in July 2022.
In terms of vaping, as of April, nicotine liquids and gels were exempted as a controlled substance under the Poisons Act of 1952.
Only time will tell how common vaping and smoking will become in Malaysia
Frequently Asked Questions
How Common Is Smoking in Malaysia?
Smoking is fairly common in Malaysia, with around 50% of men ages 18 years and above who smoke. Also, about 20% of teenagers smoke. While smoking is popular, there’s been a downward trend, decreasing from 29% of the total population in 2000 to only 22% in 2015.
What Is the Average Smoking Age in Malaysia?
Over one-fifth of Malaysians over the age of 15 smoke, and the highest prevalence of smoking was reported from adults aged 25-44. However, those with tertiary educational attainment and the lowest and highest income levels had a significantly lower prevalence of smoking.
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Malaysia is a hub for smoking and vaping since it’s deeply ingrained into the social aspect of their lives.
People tend to start smoking at an early age, potentially as young as 15 years old. The good news is that smoking is declining.
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