“Hand That Shield” programme is aimed at helping teenagers stop smoking
Hand That Shield is an anti-smoking programme. Supported by Bridgestone Malaysia working with the National Cancer Society (NCSM), the aim is to help teenagers kick the nicotine habit.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Malaysia. According to National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) in 2015, smoking kills 20,000 Malaysians every year. The number will rise to 30,000 by 2020.
There are over five million smokers in Malaysia. One million or 20 per cent, are children below the age of 18. In addition, one out of 10 are aged between 13 and 17*. In 2016, a survey, TECMA** found that almost 80% of adolescents in Malaysia had their first cigarette before the age of 14.
Hand That Shield was a year-long programme for school-going youth smokers, aged 13 to 18 years old. Led by the NCSM’s Smoking Cessation Specialist it involved three sponsored secondary schools in the Klang Valley. A total of 2716 students were screened then 447 young smokers chosen for the programme. Activities were held to motivate and encourage them to quit the habit. Teachers and peers were involved to provide support in their journey.
By the end of the programme 343 students had given up smoking. The overall success rate was 76.9%. A closing ceremony to celebrate their achievement and the success of the campaign was held on 19 August 2019.
* statistics from the Institute of Public Health Malaysia.
** Tobacco & E-cigarette Survey among Malaysian Adolescents (TECMA) (2016)