KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry wants non-smokers to “speak out” on their right to a smoke-free surrounding.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said he hoped smokers will respect the smoking ban at eateries, so that others will not be exposed to secondhand smoke.
“It is important that non-smokers are empowered to speak up about their right to breathe clean and fresh air, ” he said when launching the “Speak Out: Express Your Right” campaign at Kuala Lumpur Sentral here yesterday.
As part of the programme, KTM has agreed to be part of the campaign for six months, with one of its commuter trains displaying the ministry’s message.
Dr Dzulkefly said that 80% of the Malaysian population were non-smokers and the campaign was in relation to the smoking ban at eateries that has been enforced from the beginning of this year.
He said seven out of 10 adults and 37% of children under 15 years were exposed to secondhand smoke, whether in homes or vehicles. He also said that there were about 20,000 deaths every year attributable to smoking-related causes.
The Health Ministry started enforcing the smoking ban on all eateries, including open-air dining areas, as per Regulation 11(1) Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 (Amendment) Regulations 2018 since Jan 1.
The regulations prohibit smoking within a 3m radius from any table or chair at an eating place.
Enforcement was also carried out on all food premises owners under Regulation 12(1) of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 to ensure that their eating places are free from all forms of smoking by displaying the no-smoking sign clearly and not providing ashtrays or service selling shisha or other types of smoking equipment.
As of Jan 6, Dr Dzulkefly said 2,617 compounds worth RM627,050 were issued to smokers and owners of premises in relation to the smoking ban.
When asked whether there will be designated spots for smokers, Dr Dzulkefly said the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), through the local councils, will be setting up designated smoking areas which will be located more than 3m away from eateries.
Dr Dzulkefly said the issue was discussed in the Cabinet, and called it a good initiative by the KPKT.
Those who want to quit smoking can get advice from mQuit services in all government health clinics and hospitals nationwide or in any private healthcare facilities with accredited mQuit services.
For more information, go to jomquit.moh.gov.my or call 03-8883 4400.