Still puffing away in heritage zone

A smoker (circled) flouting the law in the heritage enclave. — Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star.

THERE are still many smokers puffing away at the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site in Penang during the movement control order (MCO) period.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) claimed that its recent survey found that the number of smokers had actually increased at the heritage site’s non-smoking zones.

Its education officer N.V. Subbarow said many people were seen happily smoking their cigarettes and e-cigarettes even though there were signs in the area indicating that they were in a non-smoking area.

A customer takes a puff while waiting for his order at a food stall in George Town.A customer takes a puff while waiting for his order at a food stall in George Town.

“They were bold enough to defy the rules because they thought no enforcement officers from the state Health Department would be conducting checks during the MCO period, ” he said in a statement.

Subbarow also pointed out that during the survey, CAP found many petty traders were still selling loose cigarette sticks to the public, which is against the law.

He hoped that the state Health Department and other authorities would take stern action against the traders and smokers.

A man puffing away in a public area.A man puffing away in a public area.

“According to the World Health Organisation, available evidence suggests that smoking is associated with increased severity of morbidity and mortality in Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals.

“So smokers should kick their habit quickly, ” he said.

On July 4,2015, all buildings and public spaces within the 259ha George Town heritage site, except residential premises, were gazetted as no-smoking zones and enforcement began on Jan 1,2016.

Smokers can be fined a maximum of RM10,000 or jailed up to two years, upon conviction.

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