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Male and married? It's easier to quit then


By Sonia Ramachandran

YOU are more likely to stop smoking if you are male, married, strongly motivated, and Chinese.

This was the outcome of a research conducted by Universiti Malaya, University College London (UCL) and the Health Ministry.

The purpose of the research was to find out why some smokers could successfully quit while others couldn't, especially since one in every two adult males in the country is a smoker and smokes an average of more than 12 cigarettes a day.

Another reason was because the success rate in getting people to quit smoking in the country was only 34 per cent.

The study was entitled "Motivation process in smokers attending quit smoking clinics in Malaysia".

"We want to understand why some smokers could quit and others couldn't because we cannot target intervention programmes if we do not understand," said Universiti Malaya Faculty of Medicine deputy dean (undergraduate and diploma programmes) Professor Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, who was one of the researchers of the study, which was conducted in 2008.

"It is also very expensive for the government to bear the cost of the nicotine replacement therapy programme as it costs around RM200 per smoker per month." 

The study, which is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, looked at 200 smokers who attended five of the most active quit smoking clinics in the Federal Territory.

Most of the respondents were around 35 years of age and educated professionals.

This differed from the West, said Dr Awang, where most of those who sought help at the clinics were above 40.

Dr Awang, who carried out the study with his PhD student Wee Lei Hum, said some of the factors that the study revealed were similar to the West which included the age of the smokers and experience in previous attempts to cease smoking.

"The study found there was a higher chance of men quitting smoking than women. This is because...