November 15th, 2015

Dapatkan kaunseling berhenti merokok

Asalnya dia seorang perokok tegar dan bagi menghentikan ketagihannya terhadap rokok selain tidak mahu mengikut jejak bapanya yang mati kerana kanser paru-paru akibat banyak merokok, ahli farmasi di Beijing, China, ini mencipta rokok elektronik yang moden.


Hon Lik, 64, mencipta rokok elektronik (e-rokok) pada 2003 menggunakan elemen ultrabunyi piezoelektrik untuk mengewap nikotin dalam peranti yang dibentuk menyerupai rokok konvensional. Wap yang terhasil akan membawa nikotin yang disedut ke dalam paru-paru dan kemudiannya masuk ke dalam aliran darah bertujuan memberikan dos nikotin kepada perokok tanpa perlu menyedut asap rokok.

Hon mempatenkan hak cipta berkenaan dan setahun kemudian peranti berkenaan dikomersialkan syarikat tempatnya bekerja. E-rokok mendapat permintaan di pasaran China kononnya sebagai alternatif lebih sihat bagi menggantikan rokok konvensional.


Harian Metro Sihat 15 November 2015

Peranti itu kemudian begitu cepat tersebar di negara jiran dan aliran baru itu dikatakan mula memasuki Eropah pada 2006 dan menjadi popular di Amerika Syarikat pada tahun berikutnya.

Pada 2013, Hon Lik menjual hak ciptaannya itu kepada satu syarikat tembakau di United Kingdom dan turut diambil bekerja sebagai perunding di syarikat berkenaan.

Selepas 10 tahun e-rokok diperkenalkan, penggunaannya semakin meluas dan mencapai puncak populariti tahun lalu. Teknologinya semakin mantap dan banyak syarikat mula mengeluarkan peranti e-rokok atau gajet dalam pelbagai bentuk.

Kini, e-rokok mencetus fenomena di seluruh dunia dan asal muncul perkataan ‘vape’ iaitu aktiviti menghisap wap dari e-rokok.

Namun, Hon Lik bukan orang pertama mencipta e-rokok kerana ia kali pertama diperkenalkan oleh Herbert A Gilbert pada 1963. E-rokok ketika itu digambarkan sebagai rokok tanpa tembakau apabila nikotin dipanaskan untuk menghasilkan wap. Namun, produknya tidak pernah dikomersialkan.

Pada 1979, Dr Norman Jacobson mencipta semula e-rokok dengan peranti yang membenarkan pengguna menyedut nikotin tanpa asap. Malah, beliau juga dikatakan adalah insan yang merintis perbuatan ‘vaping’. Namun, e-rokok ketika itu tidak mendapat sambutan kerana merokok konvensional adalah perkara biasa, di samping tiada pembaharuan dalam teknologi e-rokok.

Sejak e-rokok menjadi popular, ia turut mendapat perhatian pelbagai agensi kesihatan dan pe­nyelidikan mengenai kesan penggunaan e-rokok mula dijalankan pada 2012 hingga 2013. E-rokok dikatakan tidak diluluskan sebagai peranti untuk berhenti merokok oleh mana-mana pihak.

Pada Julai 2014, laporan Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO) menerusi Konvensyen Rangka Kerja Kawalan Tembakau (FCTC) mendapati tiada bukti yang cukup untuk menentukan jika e-rokok mampu membantu perokok berhenti merokok. Malah, konvensyen berkenaan mencadangkan perokok perlu digalakkan untuk menggunakan kaedah yang diluluskan untuk membantu mereka berhenti merokok.

Pengarah Institut Perubatan Respiratori (IPR) Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Abdul Muttalif berkata, beliau tidak menafikan e-rokok mampu mengurangkan kesan nikotin yang disebabkan oleh rokok konvensional tetapi jika digunakan dengan cara yang betul dan sebaik-baiknya.

Namun, penggunaan e-rokok sebagai kaedah untuk berhenti merokok dalam jangka masa panjang belum terbukti kerana ia perkara baru berbanding kaedah tampalan atau gula-gula getah bernikotin menerusi terapi gantian nikotin (NRT) atau terapi oral.

“Mengikut kajian yang kita buat untuk tampalan dan gula-gula getah bernikotin menunjukkan kita boleh mengurangkan ketagihan atau berhenti merokok sekurang-kurangnya 20 hingga 40 peratus. Tetapi, ia perlu dilakukan bersama kaunseling yang bagus.

“Jadi, kalau mahu berhenti merokok bukan ubat saja kerana kaunseling juga penting. Nasihat daripada doktor pun sangat penting dan ditambah dengan ubat yang kita bagi nikotin itu,” katanya di Putrajaya, baru-baru ini.

Beliau yang juga Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Teknikal Bagi Mengkaji Kesan Rokok Elektronik dan Shisha Terhadap Kesihatan turut menyatakan kebimbangan bahawa penggunaan e-rokok akan menghidupkan trend baru dalam kalangan generasi muda.

Jawatankuasa berkenaan yang ditubuhkan tahun lalu mengesyorkan kepada kerajaan untuk mengharamkan penggunaan e-rokok bernikotin kerana nikotin yang terdapat dalam rokok elektronik sama dengan rokok tembakau.

Sekumpulan saintis dari Universiti Athens, Greece, menjelaskan bahawa e-rokok yang dilihat oleh kebanyakan pihak sebagai alternatif menyihatkan kepada rokok konvensional juga boleh membahayakan paru-paru pada Kongres Tahunan Persatuan Respiratori Eropah (ERS) yang diadakan di Vienna pada 2012.

Dalam kajian khusus ini, Profesor Christina Gratziou dan kumpulannya menjalankan eksperimen me­ngenai kesan jangka pendek e-rokok terhadap 32 sukarelawan terdiri daripada 24 perokok dan lapan bukan perokok. Sebahagian mereka tiada masalah paru-paru, manakala yang lain menghidap lelah dan penyakit pulmonari tersumbat kronik (COPD).


Harian Metro Sihat 15 November 2015

Sukarelawan berkenaan diminta menggunakan e-rokok selama 10 minit dan menyedut wapnya ke dalam paru-paru.

Ujian spirometri dijalankan bagi mengukur rintangan dalam saluran udara mereka.

Rintangan saluran udara digunakan dalam fisiologi pernafasan bagi mengukur rintangan saluran pernafasan untuk aliran udara yang masuk semasa menyedut dan menghembus.

Kumpulan penyelidik mendapati penggunaan e-rokok menyebabkan pening­katan segera dalam rintangan saluran udara yang bertahan dalam tempoh 10 minit dalam kebanyakan sukarelawan terbabit.


Hasil kajian menunjukkan penggunaan e-rokok dalam masa 10 minit dalam kalangan bukan perokok menyebabkan pening­katan rintangan saluran udara sebanyak 206 peratus daripada 182 peratus, manakala perokok pula meningkat kepada 220 peratus daripada 176 peratus.

Namun, bagi sukarelawan yang menghidap lelah dan COPD didapati tiada peningkatan signifikan dalam rintangan saluran udara mereka.

Profesor Christina yang juga Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kawalan Tembakau ERS berkata, pihaknya masih belum mengetahui produk agen pembawa nikotin yang tidak diluluskan seperti e-rokok adalah lebih selamat daripada rokok konvensional walaupun pasaran mendakwa ia kurang membahayakan.

“Kajian ini membantu kami memahami bagaimana produk ini mungkin berpotensi mendatangkan bahaya. Kami mendapati peningkatan segera dalam rintangan saluran udara dalam kumpulan sukarelawan berkenaan mencadangkan e-rokok boleh menyebabkan bahaya singkat selepas menggunakan perantinya.

“Lebih banyak kajian diperlukan bagi memahami sama ada bahaya ini juga mempunyai kesan berkekalan dalam jangka panjang. Persatuan mengesyorkan untuk mengikuti garis panduan rawatan berhenti merokok yang berkesan berdasarkan bukti klinikal yang tidak menyokong penggunaan produk e-rokok,” katanya.

Menurut laman web www.vapehit.com, kandungan cecair dalam e-rokok secara asasnya adalah perasa dan nikotin yang larut dalam komponen higroskopi iaitu bahan yang mempunyai kemampuan menyerap molekul air yang menukar air dalam larutan ke dalam asap seperti wap apabila dipanaskan.

Komponen higroskopi yang biasa digunakan termasuk propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG) dan polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400).

Ketiga-tiga cecair berkenaan adalah bahan tambahan makanan yang biasa digunakan dalam pelbagai formulasi farmaseutika.

PG sudah digunakan dalam penyedut dan alat nebulizer untuk lelah sejak 1950. Malah, Pentadbiran Makanan dan Ubatan (FDA) Amerika Syarikat turut mengklasifikasi PG di bawah kategori Secara Umumnya Diiktiraf Selamat (GRAS).

Cecair asas dalam e-rokok adalah PG atau VG, namun kandungan dalam larutan cecair e-rokok berbeza. Nikotin digunakan dalam larutan bagi bertujuan menggantikan peranan nikotin. PG dan VG digunakan bagi membekalkan nikotin. Bagaimanapun, pengguna e-rokok boleh meletakkan cecair tanpa nikotin.

Pelbagai perasa berlainan seperti tembakau biasa dan menthol dijual. Perasa makanan turut digunakan daripada tradisional seperti vanila dan kopi kepada eksotik seperti buah-buahan strawberi dan mangga. Malah, sesetengah perasa menyerupai jenama rokok tertentu.

Penggunaan larutan cecair mengandungi nikotin pula dihasilkan dengan kepekatan nikotin berbeza sesuai dengan pilihan pengguna. Dosnya juga tidak seragam dan berbeza-beza mengikut pengeluar.

Sementara itu, Kementerian Kesihatan memberikan takrifan berbeza apabila peranti elektronik yang mengandungi nikotin dirujuk sebagai rokok elektronik atau eCig, manakala yang tidak mengandungi nikotin adalah dirujuk sebagai vape.

Timbalan Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan (Kesihatan Awam), Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman berkata, penjualan dan penggunaan e-rokok mengandungi nikotin tertakluk kepada peraturan dan undang-undang di bawah Akta Racun 1952 dan Akta Makanan 1983 (Peraturan-peraturan Kawalan Hasil Tembakau 2004). Oleh itu, edaran, penjualan dan penggunaan e-rokok adalah tertakluk kepada peraturan dan undang-undang berkenaan.

“Nikotin adalah bahan berjadual bermaksud ha­nya orang-orang tertentu atau ahli farmasi berlesen saja dibenarkan menjual apa juga bentuk bahan mengandungi nikotin. Vape tidak tertakluk kepada mana-mana undang-undang ketika ini, tetapi pihak kementerian ingin menyarankan kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia janganlah mengamalkannya,” katanya.

Menurutnya, sehingga ada sokongan dan kajian saintifik yang cukup jelas menunjukkan kebaikan penggunaan e-rokok mengatasi keburukannya, pihak kementerian cenderung melarang e-rokok seperti disaran oleh FCTC dan Kesatuan Antarabangsa Menentang Tuberkulosis dan Penyakit Paru-paru.

Bagi vape pula, pihak kementerian menasihati peng­guna berhenti menggunakannya dan kepada bukan pengguna supaya tidak memulakan tabiat yang merugikan. Pihak kementerian tidak menyokong amalan yang menyebabkan bahan asing disedut ke dalam paru-paru hanya untuk keseronokan tanpa diketahui kesan jangka panjang.

“Kita tidak sentuh lagi isu fasal kemungkinan cecair vape ditambah dengan macam-macam benda yang segala-galanya boleh. Pihak kementerian akan meneruskan kempen seperti mana kita melakukan kempen berhenti merokok bagi memastikan rakyat Malaysia terus mengamalkan cara hidup sihat.

“Ini kerana, kebimbangan kita adalah mereka yang tidak merokok terutama kanak-kanak. Anak-anak kecil ini akan melihat penggunaan vape tiada kesan buruk kerana ia tidak ada nikotin sebaliknya bermacam-macam perasa.

“Mereka akan mula mencuba vape untuk seronok, tetapi apabila dewasa mereka akan mencari sesuatu yang lebih nikmat iaitu nikotin dan di sinilah datang ketagihan,” katanya.

Kini, terdapat pelbagai bukti kajian saintifik menunjukkan vaping juga menyebabkan kemudaratan kepada tubuh. Perokok wajar berusaha membuang ketagihan nikotin dengan mendapatkan rawatan berhenti merokok daripada Perkhidmatan Berhenti Merokok di klinik dan hospital kerajaan atau mana-mana badan profesional yang lain.

Kesan kesihatan amalan vaping mungkin tidak diketahui sehingga bertahun-tahun lamanya dan mungkin tiada apa boleh dilakukan pada waktu itu untuk memulihkan kesan kesihatan yang berlaku.

Oleh itu, pihak kementerian meminta orang ramai menolak amalan vaping dan e-rokok demi menjaga kesihatan, anak-anak dan generasi Malaysia akan datang daripada kemudaratan kesihatan berpunca gaya hidup tidak sihat.

Harian Metro Sihat 15 November 2015

Three reasons why our students are 'crippled'

MY parents were Chinese school teachers, but I was enrolled in an English school in Klang, Selangor, while we were living at the teachers’ quarters behind a Chinese school in Pandamaran.

I was among the top scorers for Bahasa Malaysia in Year 6, which was quite an achievement as my class comprised many who had completed Malay primary school, and had to start from Year 5 when switching to an English school.

Because Malay is a phonetic language, I could pronounce and spell the words correctly. While Mandarin may be concise and much information could be communicated using a few words, Chinese characters are difficult to remember and write. In 1962, although I had obtained Grade A in the secondary school entrance examination, my English was weak as no one at home or in my neighbourhood spoke English, and television had yet to be introduced to our country.

I remember that in Form 1, a teacher asked me to explain why fishermen in the east coast placed barriers to shield their houses from monsoon winds. I could only say “touch here, touch there, no force” meaning the wind’s force would be absorbed by the barriers and reduced by the time it reached the houses.

The teacher told me to start reading books. I was over-ambitious and picked up a thick novel from the library but read only a few pages. When in Form 4 and 5, I subscribed to Time and Life magazines, and learnt much about what was happening in the world from them. I was also reading Reader’s Digest and picked up good values.

But I was too undisciplined to study and obtained a third grade for my Malaysia Certificate of Education and barely passed English. I took up a correspondence course and, within a few months, had obtained a diploma in automobile engineering from a British institute.

However, my Malay and Chinese remained undeveloped. I could hardly converse with my parents and avoided talking to relatives who didn’t speak English. While I could excel in the workplace using English, I hardly communicated with those who didn’t.

After working in the automobile and insurance industries for four years, I switched to the travel line and worked as a tourist guide. It took me only two days to observe how city tours were conducted before guiding on my own, as licensing of tourist guides was introduced only two years later in 1975.

Initially, tour leaders of American and Australian groups were impressed with my sincerity as they did not realise that I had just started guiding.

From 1990 to 2000, I was engaged to be a lecturer and examiner for tourist guide courses, and had organised training in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Langkawi.

Proficiency in English had allowed me to serve as general manager for seven travel, tour, training, leasing and car rental companies.

In the process, I had interviewed thousands of job applicants and recruited hundreds of staff based mainly on their ability to communicate well in English.

It is sad to learn that 1,000 medical graduates had given up becoming doctors after completing the two-year housemanship due to their poor command of English.

If this could happen to our brightest students, then the future is indeed bleak for other graduates who are weak in English in this globalised era.

The switch from English in schools to Bahasa Malaysia started in 1970. There is no denying that Bahasa Malaysia should be our national language, but English should not have been relegated.

Other countries are proud of their native language but have also promoted and given due importance to English. Where we are today was caused by three factors.

The first is our education system and it is more than just lack of teaching hours in English. Students must practise speaking and writing in front of the class, and mistakes must be corrected so that everyone learns. If not, they go through school and university unable to speak or write properly.

It is common to find graduates unable to string a sentence correctly in English, and to my horror, many could not write thirty-six billion in figures, which I could in primary school.

The second factor has to do with their friends. Unlike my schooldays, when students and friends spoke to each other in English, it is now a rarity.

The third factor has often been overlooked and that is the power of television, which I learnt from my granddaughter. For the first two years, she did not speak a word except to call out her parents and others.

We tried teaching her words in various languages and dialects, but she remained silent. But when she started to speak, she amazed us with her vocabulary and pronunciation.

For example, the last letter “k” in “look” could be heard distinctly. She learnt to speak, sing and dance by watching children’s programmes in English.

When she was less than 3 years old, she had the confidence to engage with foreign adults while waiting in airports and hotels overseas.

Children are not handicapped to learn if they have access to English programmes. But most are denied them by selfish adults, who prioritise their own entertainment over children’s education.
Y.S. CHAN, Kuala Lumpur NST Home News Opinion You Write Sunday, 15 November 2015, 8:11 PM

The truth is we don't write enough

WE have to face it: we don’t write enough. Yes, of course we used to write cheques, but cheques have become obsolete, computers and mini phones with mini keypads have taken over everything that we once used to do with pens or pencils.

Even the postmen who come to your door do not write notes or receipts any more. They just scan barcodes and then hand you a little screen on a little box. Just sign here, they say, handing you a stylus.

They just want to see you touch the pointy object to the screen and produce a scratch, just that.

Why is writing important? I mean by this the act of holding a pen or pencil and producing letters, words on a page. Taking yourself back to the pleasures of pure process.

Now those are not my words, but let me take you back. In October I wrote about writing and mentioned the proprioceptive writing in passing as one example of how you can write and read in a more meaningful way.

I meant that as a means of exploration of both the outside world and yourself, for, I said in my column that we are always in quest for meaning, even when we are not conscious of it our brains are always ticking to make sense of where we are and how things fall into place.

I was saying that writing opens up not just the world before you but also gives you a clearer sense of yourself. That for certain, is one of its gifts no matter what you are aiming for, whether you are writing a novel or simply keeping a journal.

I guessed that proprioceptive writing may have had its roots in psychotherapy. I have had my knuckles rapped for being so presumptuous by a person who has been practising (and teaching) Proprioceptive Writing (PW) for more than 20 years.

No, it is not psychotherapy that is the root of the proprioceptive method but literary theory, says Ann Bright who teaches PW in New York.

PW was in fact discovered by two teachers, one with a PhD in English Literature (Linda Trichter Metcalf) and another, Tobin Simon, was, like Metcalf, also a professor of English and humanities at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Together they wrote the guiding text for PW, Writing the Mind Alive, a book that Ann Bright said I should read. “I enjoyed reading your article... I imagine from reading [it] that you would enjoy and appreciate the book,” she said.

The initiator of the method (Metcalf) discovered that words can start talking to you — and here I am putting her discovery in my own words — when she began to examine closely the relationship between words and her subjective experience of words in the course of writing her doctoral dissertation at New York university.

She began to read a novel closely, each phrase, each sentence and recorded what thoughts were triggered in her mind.

She began to observe her reading and her mind’s response to words that she was reading in this way for six hours a day for three months.

And that was how PW was born as a form of ‘meditation’ that brought a new way for her to experience herself. Metcalf and Simon gave up their teaching jobs to devote themselves full time to teaching PW to other people.

From the testimonials it appears to have helped people from all walks of life — writers included — to become more aware of themselves. Some established writers report that this has helped them clear writing blocks.

I shall indeed look further into this and write about it in future columns.

Suffice it for me to say now that it is an example of how consciously writing and letting your mind go free in your meditation on words will take you to pathways that will surprise even yourself.

Thinking at the same pace of your writing will sometimes make you want to look closer at words.

This is a personal opinion and is perhaps the reason why I prefer journal writing to be in handwritten words, not tapped at speed on a keypad.

The habit of journal writing is something that I’d recommend to anyone starting out on any venture. It is a way of clarifying your thoughts and gathering them in what may appear to be an unsystematic way.

For many it has produced surprising results.
Wan A Hulaimi NST Home News Opinion Columnist 15 November 2015

Qualified, but not given teaching chance

IN my previous article, I discussed the announcement by the Education Ministry where it said that trained English language teachers from India will soon be recruited under the School Improvement Specialist Coaches programme.

Its reasoning is that this move will raise the language competency of teachers and students, especially in rural schools.

As previously mentioned, most people have not been in favour of this drastic act. They argue that we have more than enough local English teachers to do the job.

The whole notion of bringing in outsiders is akin to a slap in the face for local English teachers. They are not wrong to feel this way, but neither are they completely right.

Yes, we do have a large number of local English language teachers, who may or may not be up to taking up the responsibility. However, one needs to bear in mind that not all of these teachers are qualified.

Perhaps technically they do — equipped with a teaching diploma and the proper training. In spite of this, they still lack one of the most basic qualifications of being a language teacher: proficiency.

Many of them struggle to construct a grammatically coherent sentence, but I do not blame them for that. I blame the system that has failed miserably in equipping them with the proper foundation.

But I digress, because that’s a matter to be discussed at another juncture. So yes, importing Indian teachers may be a step towards fixing the root problem in schools.

However, there is something more that can be done to sort out the language proficiency issue. I never actually knew about this until I spoke to a friend from university.

Being an English language lecturer myself, issues pertaining education concern me greatly.

Naturally, I took to social media to discuss this matter further. A friend, whom I’ve known from our varsity days some years back, reached out to me to shed light on matters that I had been unaware of.

When she completed her degree in teaching, she proceeded to complete her Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah (KPLI) course offered by the Education Ministry, after which she was given a chance to teach in a school in the east coast.

However, she couldn’t make it on the set date as her father had been diagnosed with throat cancer.

Being the only child left at home, she had no choice but to push aside her career and focus on taking care of her ailing father.

Unfortunately for her, the ministry took it as a refusal on her side and when the time came for her to pick up where she left off in terms of her career, she was left heartbroken when the ministry declined to give her another opportunity to teach, despite having the qualifications.

She has been re-appealing for the past few years but everything she said has fallen on deaf ears. It promised to reconsider her application if and when there are vacancies.

Now this is the part that I don’t quite understand. She is a fluent speaker and has a good grasp of the language, in addition to having a passion for teaching.

Coupled with her qualifications, she would make a great addition to the English language-teaching workforce. Yet, she is not given the chance to do so.

She happens to be one of those who can make a difference in shaping our children’s future, yet she isn’t given the opportunity to do so.

Here’s the alarming part of this predicament: she’s not the only one going through this. There are many others facing a similar quandary.

My question is, why? There is an opportunity to increase the employment rate in the teaching line, in addition to having qualified teachers in schools.

There probably isn’t even a need to bring in foreign aid if the locals are tapped into efficiently.

My friend, as with many others like her, have received similar explanations from the ministry: that their applications will be looked into if there are vacancies.

It’s clear that there are indeed vacancies. There is a need for good English language teachers to be absorbed into the workforce. So why aren’t they given a chance?

I can understand where the people are coming from when they protest the recruitment of English language teachers from India.

There is a saying in Malay, “anak kera di hutan disusu, anak sendiri di rumah kebuluran” — loosely translated to mean one who would rather focus on external matters when the more important, i.e. internal issues, are left hanging in the balance.

Perhaps it is high time that these issues are sorted out first.

Explanations should be given and steps need to be taken to solve this matter once and for all.

She believes in a tomorrow where there is no racism and hatred.
Ashley Greig NST Home News Opinion Columnist 15 November 2015 @ 11:01 AM