DESIGN: This was a population-based, cross-sectional study whereby subjects were adults aged 18 years old and above. A workshop on the identification of OML was held to train and calibrate dental officers prior to data collection in the field. Sociodemographic and risk habits data were collected via face-to-face interview, whilst presence of OML and clinical details of lesions such as type and site were collected following clinical oral examination by the examiners. Data analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 12.0. The association between risk habits and risk of OPMD was explored using logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 1634 subjects were recruited. Prevalence of OML for this population was 54.1%. Linea alba was the most common lesion seen (28.7%). This study showed an overall OPMD prevalence of 5.6%. The most common type of OPMD was leukoplakia (64.8%), followed by lichen planus (30.8%). Subjects who only smoked were found to have an increased risk for OPMD of almost four-fold (RR 3.74, 95%CI 1.89-7.41). The highest risk was found for betel quid chewers, where the increased risk observed was more than six times (RR 6.75, 95%CI 3.32-13.72). Alcohol consumption on its own did not seem to confer an increased risk for OPMD, however when practiced concurrently with smoking, a significant risk of more than five times was noted (RR 5.69 95%CI 3.14-10.29).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of OML was 54.1%, with linea alba being the most commonly occurring lesion. Smoking, alcohol consumption and betel quid chewing were found to be associated with the prevalence of OPMD, which was 5.6%.
DESIGN: Primary and secondary documentary sources in both English and Malay were analysed to illuminate key events and decisions, and the discourse of industry and government. Sources included: speeches by Malaysian political and industry actors; tobacco industry reports, press releases and websites; government documents; World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco control literature; and press reports.
RESULTS: Malays have the highest smoking prevalence among Malaysia's major ethnic groups. The tobacco industry has consistently been promoted as furthering Malay economic development. Malays play the major role in growing and curing. Government-owned Malay development trusts have been prominent investors in tobacco corporations, which have cultivated linkages with the Malay elite. The religious element of Malay ethnicity has also been significant. All Malays are Muslim, and the National Fatwa Council has declared smoking to be haram (forbidden); however, the Government has declined to implement this ruling.
CONCLUSION: Exaggerated claims for the socio-economic benefits of tobacco production, government investment and close links between tobacco corporations and sections of the Malay elite have created a conflict of interest in public policy, limited the focus on tobacco as a health policy issue among Malays and retarded tobacco control policy. More recently, ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, regional free trade policies reducing the numbers of growers, concerns about smoking from an Islamic viewpoint, and anxieties about the effects of smoking upon youth have increasingly challenged the dominant discourse that tobacco furthers Malay interests. Nevertheless, the industry remains a formidable political and economic presence in Malaysia that is likely to continue to proclaim that its activities coincide with Malay socio-economic interests.