KLANG: There will be initial hiccups but the Selangor government is adamant that the smoking ban at all food outlets will be successfully implemented in the state.
“We have to start somewhere; it won’t be perfect but it is a beginning,” said Selangor state executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.
“There are bound to be hiccups in the implementation but our government must persevere and be firm.”
She hoped the authorities would not reverse the ban in the event of pressure.
“The no-smoking policy has been successful in developed countries as a majority of the people there want healthy air and environment,” said the exco member in charge of the health division.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Khalid Ibrahim said his department’s enforcement officers would start anti-smoking operations on Jan 3.
“The public needs to understand that the move is to protect them from exposure to cigarette smoke,” he said.
State health and environment officer Siti Zawiyah Abd Ghani, who will be one of those heading the enforcement, said her officers would be strict.
“For the first six months until June 30, we will issue a reminder notice to outlets that flout the ban.
“We will only compound them and initiate action if they continue to allow smoking despite being served the reminder notice,” said Siti Zawiyah.
By July 1, reminder notices would not be issued anymore, she also warned.
“Offenders and errant operators will be immediately compounded and duly dealt with without any warning from that date,” she said.
In Klang, the necessary signboards have been put up at strategic locations and teams of local council enforcement officers have been stationed all over town.
Klang Municipal Council health and environment department director Azmi Muji said enforcement would be jointly carried out by his team and district health department officers.
Restaurants and eateries, he added, would be prohibited from placing ashtrays on tables.
With smoking being banned at eateries, there are fears of a side effect – smoking at home.
Former Selangor Health Department director Datin Dr Ang Kim Teng acknowledged that while the ban protected the public, the same could not be said of those at home.
“Another greater risk is smoking in the home in the presence of others on a daily basis,” said Dr Ang, who retired in 2008.
Inhalation of tobacco smoke exposes passive smokers to the same risks as smokers, she noted.
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