State government hopes to prevent errant smokers from lighting up in no-smoking zones

MALACCA: More smoking zones will be made available in the historic city following defiance by chain smokers.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said smokers continued to disregard the no-smoking zones despite ample signboards warning them not to light-up in these areas.

He said enforcement officers from the state Health Department had been constantly issuing compound notices to errant smokers but this did not deter them from puffing away in no-smoking zones.

“For this reason, we will identify and build more ventilated rooms designated for smokers within the city so they will not smoke in the open areas,” he said, adding that some foreigners were adamant that their right to smoke should not be curbed and were willing to pay the fines.

From June 2011, the Health Department has been undertaking an enforcement blitz after Malacca emerged as the first state to gazette five areas, including two districts, as no-smoking zones where offenders caught puffing at these sites could be slapped with a maximum fine of RM5,000.

The five areas designated as areas free from cigarette or tobacco smoke are the 4.2 sq km World Heritage City, Taman Melaka Raya, the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh, Alor Gajah and Jasin town centres.

Last year, 199 smokers, including five foreign tourists, were fined for puffing in designated smoke-free areas across the state.

The vast majority of fines under Rule 22 of the Control of Tobacco Products 2004 were issued to those smoking on public transport within the core Unesco buffer zone, followed by Taman Melaka Raya.

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