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KUALA LUMPUP: Teenage smokers are turning to shisha, a flavoured water pipe from the Middle-East to replace cigarettes.

They can afford shisha smoking as a RAM17 bottle, twice the size of a two litre mineral bottle, is enough to go around for six people.

At a counselling session to quit smoking, four teenage smokers argued that shlsha, also known as "hookah" was safer than cigarettes.

The teenagers who spoke to the New Straits Times about their shisha habits said shisha was readily available in the city.

The health ministry has said that smoking the shisha had the same health risks as smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The smoke from the hookah contained toxins that could cause lung and heart diseases, said the ministry.


Malaysia tops

THE Southeest Asia Tobacco Control Alliance reported last year that Malaysia had the highest percentage of teenage smokers between the ages of 13 and 15 compared with other Asean countries.

Neady 40 per cent of teenage boys and at least 11 per cent of teenage girls in this country are smokers.

7 WAYS TO STOP THE HABIT

1 When the urge to smoke comes:

a. Wait for three minutes.

b. Wash your face and hands, Don't wipe your hands because it will be hard to light up a cigarette with wet hands.

c. Breathe in and out when you experience withdrawal symptoms like shaking hands, anger and irritation

2 Smoking weakens the sense of smell, so smokers eat less. Once you quit, your sense of smell will be stronger making you eat more. Eat until you are 70 per cent full so that your thoughts are occupied with hunger instead of lighting a cigarette. Smokers usually light up on a full stomach.

3 One in five smokers will experience bleeding of gums and teeth when trying to quit. Gargle water mixed with salt. It is recommended to use soft toothbrush and children's toothpaste.

4 Drink the O'ais limau or any acidic drink.

5 Mix with non-smokers.

6 Don't think about smoking. Gradually you will think less about smoking when you occupy yourself with activities and new thoughts.

7 Use vaseline twice a day for dry and peeling lips which will occur when you quit.


TEENS AND THE SMOKING SYNDROME

HOW THEY AVOID GETTING CAUGHT

  • They smoke when they go out at night and at shopping complexes.

  • They stop smoking three hours before going home.

  • They apply free sample of deodorant or perfume displayed in shopping complexes.

  • They chew gum to take away their cigarette breath.

  • They rush to the shower upon returning home.


WHY THEY SMOKE

  • peer pressure.

  • curiosity.

  • Tension.

  • Easy access to cigarettes.Shops usually never ask for mykad.

  • To study better.

  • Boredom.

  • Have plenty of pocket money. Some as high as RM10 daily.


WHY THEY STOP

  • Girlfriends ask them to stop.

  • Cigarettes getting too expensive.

  • To improve their health and quality of life.

  • Parents ask them to quit.

  • Someone in their families had died of lung cancer.

  • Lips turning black.

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