MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Weekly Asian Medical News Bulletin – 2 June 2023

smoking bulletin weekly

Medical Channel Asia presents the weekly Asian medical news bulletin, bringing you essential healthcare news from across the region. This week’s bulletin will focus on several updates in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, which occurred on 31 May 2023 

Thailand

Medical professionals in Thailand are increasingly concerned about a rise in pneumonia and bronchitis cases linked to e-cigarette usage, particularly among cannabis oil users. Under-reporting of these cases is prevalent. This is often due to a lack of awareness and adequate patient questioning by physicians, according to Assoc. Prof. Sutat Rungruanghiranya, Secretary-General of the Medical Professionals Network for Tobacco Consumption Control. E-cigarette users, especially those consuming cannabis oil, are at a higher risk of developing lung and bronchial problems and often face significant challenges in quitting due to the high, more addictive synthetic nicotine content in e-cigarettes. The long-term effects of e-cigarette usage remain unclear, with early data suggesting possible links to lung and bladder cancer.

Philippines

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines, along with other concerned agencies, has launched a local period tracker app called “Oky Philippines”. The app aims to provide young Filipino girls with accurate menstrual health information and was created with input from various demographic groups, including indigenous peoples and children with disabilities. The Australian government supported the app’s localization as part of its AU$48 million Indo-Pacific Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights COVID-19 Surge Response. DOH officer-in-charge, Maria Rosario Vergeire, hopes the app will enable adolescent girls to make informed, healthy decisions. The app’s launch aligns with an improvement in sanitary product access in public schools and the Department of Education’s plan to introduce sexual and reproductive health rights education from Grade 4.

Malaysia

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Malaysia plans to present the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill to Parliament in June. The bill aims to regulate all smoking products, including vapes and e-cigarettes, and implement a generational endgame (GEG) policy. Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni explained that the legislation is crucial for protecting the health of young people. E-cigarette use among teenagers has significantly increased from 9.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2022, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS). The bill, which was approved by the Cabinet, had previously been delayed due to the dissolution of the government.

Vietnam

Vietnam witnessed at least six cases of botulism in May, including three children, according to health officials this week. The patients contracted the disease after consuming contaminated food. Botulism us a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Following an antitoxin shortage in hospitals, the World Health Organization (WHO) supplied six vials of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent (BAT) to treat the patients. This high-cost, scarce medication is not included in the health insurance fund. Going forward, the Ministry of Health intends to establish measures to ensure a supply of rare drugs in stockpiling centers, despite the challenges posed by their cost and expiry.

Singapore

Singapore has recorded 15 cases of Zika in 2023, with a significant increase of 14 cases in May alone. Most of these cases emerged from a cluster in the Kovan area. These grew from four cases on May 19 to 11 cases by the end of the month. The virus, transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, can lead to symptoms such as fever, rash, and joint pain. However, many infected individuals remain asymptomatic. After a quiet period since March 2020, two cases were detected in 2022. The Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency have advised residents, particularly pregnant women due to the virus’s potential to cause microcephaly in unborn babies, to be vigilant and seek medical attention if symptoms of Zika appear.

Indonesia

The Indonesian Health Ministry reported this week an increasing trend in the number of smokers from 2013 to 2019, particularly among children and teenagers. The prevalence of smokers aged 10 to 18 rose from 7.2% in 2013 to 9.1% in 2018. Indonesia ranks third globally in terms of the number of smokers. Over 27 million adult smokers are at risk of various diseases. They include cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart problems, and diabetes mellitus. Furthermore, social and economic impacts are notable, with families reportedly spending three times more on cigarettes than on protein-rich food. The Health Ministry disclosed this information this week as part of a press conference for World No Tobacco Day 2023. The occasion aims to increase public awareness of the importance of nutritious food over tobacco consumption.

Share via

Also worth reading

People also read:

world first aid day 2023
Digital Technology Takes Centre Stage on World First Aid Day in Asia

World First Aid Day, celebrated today on the 9th of September 2023, is amplifying its impact through digital technology. This aligns with this year’s theme: First Aid in the Digital World. Celebrated on the 9th of September 2023, World First Aid Day focuses on integrating digital technology to make life-saving knowledge more accessible. The Global First Aid Reference Center is set to launch an updated version of its First Aid App, illustrating how digital platforms are reshaping how we learn first aid.

Read More »
Research team members from Asst Prof Leong Sai Mun’s lab, discussing experimental data for their study on cancer cell altruism. (From left to right: PhD student Poon Kok Siong, Dr Muhammad Sufyan, Dr Tan Yuen Peng, Dr Leong Sai Mun) Breast cancer6
New Study Unveils Altruistic Behaviour of Cancer Cells in Breast Cancer Treatment Resistance

A team from the NUS Centre for Cancer Research (N2CR) and the Department of Pathology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine), has made a significant discovery in the understanding of breast cancer’s resistance to chemotherapy. The study, led by Research Assistant Professor Leong Sai Mun, spanned over a decade and examined a large cohort of breast cancer patients to understand the dynamics of cancer cell survival post-chemotherapy.

Read More »