KUANTAN: The Kuantan Cafe, Hotel and Restaurant Association will give its full cooperation to the authorities in enforcing the smoking ban at eateries.
Its chairman Sin Thin Sang said they would no longer protest the move even though business had suffered as a result.
“There are customers who get angry when we tell them not to smoke. We just don’t engage with them further to avoid getting into an argument or fight.
“There are also those who just cannot get used to it. To them, smoking while having a meal is a habit and when they cannot do that, they do not stay long at our premises,” Sin said after attending a talk by the state Health Department here recently.
The talk was organised by the association to brief members on the ban and all that it entailed.
Non-communicable diseases control (NCDC) unit senior assistant and environmental health officer Zulkifli Muslim said, for instance, a customer could still put a cigarette in his mouth as long as he did not light up.
He said eatery operators were not allowed to set up a smoking area outside their premises.
Zulkifli also briefed the association members on the specifications of the no-smoking sign that had to be displayed at their eateries.
On the rationale behind the ban, NCDC unit chief assistant director Dr Siti Zubaidah Abd Rahman explained that the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015 found 25% of the Pahang population were smokers.
“About 22% is the national average so Pahang is higher. The number of smokers is actually low, but their smoking can have a major impact on others.
“The majority of Malaysians are supporting us because our long-term goal is to prevent non-communicable diseases,” she said.
It was learnt that the department had inspected 4,005 premises in the state and served 923 notices within the first 12 days of the ban.
Currently, no fines would be issued as the Health Department was focusing on educational enforcement during the first six months of the ban.