GEORGE TOWN: State health and environment officials are fuming that they do not have the power to stop those vaping in the heritage enclave here.
Smoking has been banned in the core and buffer zones of the George Town heritage enclave since July 1 but the gazette does not include vaping.
Despite the lack of legislative clout, the state Health Department and Cigarette Smoke-Free Penang (Penbar) task force is still trying to think up the best approach to extend the smoking ban to vaping as well, said state health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan yesterday.
The George Town smoking ban, set up under the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations 1993, was gazetted to reduce the risk of second-hand smoke to non-smokers.
Smokers cannot even light up indoors within the heritage zone and the state plans to impose fines from January when the six-month awareness campaign ends.
Offenders can be fined up to RM5,000. Repeat offenders can also face up to RM10,000 fine or two years’ jail.
Equally riled up is state environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to issue a clear stand on vaping. We are unhappy that two senior federal leaders have openly spoken in support of vaping.
“This is a multi-billion-ringgit global industry. When it is this big, sometimes decisions can be clouded,” he said.
Besides the heritage city, smoking is also banned in the Botanic Gardens, the Penang Municipal Park and the Air Itam, Mengkuang and Teluk Bahang dams.