More public areas now off limits

PETALING JAYA: Smo­king is no longer allowed at camp sites, game courts and playgrounds.

Public parks are now also designated as no smoking areas except for open public car parks.

The Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 came into force yesterday.

The new regulations, which were announced by Health Minister Da­tuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam under the Food Act 1983 on Jan 16, were gazetted on Jan 24.

Under the new regulations, the following spaces are now off li­­mits:

> Observation towers in national and state parks;

> Public parks – any open area for the purposes of leisure and recreational containing soft or hard landscapes, or both, such as pedestrian path, playing field, game court and playground except an open public car park;

> National parks;

> State parks – an area which has been gazetted as a state park, re­served land or permanent reserved forest under any of the laws;

> Camp site – a space designated for the purpose of setting up tents for camping activities including any building within the site; and

> Canopy bridge – a pedestrian path connecting the trees including the resting place.

Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control’s treasurer-general Muham­mad Sha’ani Abdullah welcomed the amendments, saying many people thought it was all right to smoke in national parks because they were open spaces.

“It would be better to declare all public places as ‘no smoking zones’ and then list the exceptions.

“But a large size of the population is addicted to smoking and doing that would not be a popular move for the politicians,” Muham­mad said.

Asked who would enforce the new regulations, for example, against young adults smoking in a neighbourhood playground, he said it was the responsibi­lity of the local council since it was a public park.

He said it was up to the local authorities to play their part in improving public health.

Muham­mad pointed out that the new regulations only applied to national and state parks in the pe­­ninsula.

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