Penang enforcement team continue crackdown

GEORGE TOWN: With over 2,000 smokers caught so far this year, Penang plans to continue being strict with anyone who flouts the law.

Penang Health committee chairman Daniel Gooi Zi Sen said the offenders were fined under the Control of Tobacco Products Regulation 2004, which bans smoking in prohibited areas.

“From January to October, there have been 784 operations conducted by Health Department enforcement officers in the state,” Gooi pointed out.

“A total of 2,711 notices were issued, with 1,689 compounds already offered so far,” he added.

Gooi said the operations were conducted based on identified hotspots and also on tip-offs and complaints from the public.

“Enforcement is ongoing, and we urge all smokers to be responsible and adhere to the law,” he said.

Since July 4, 2015, all buildings and public spaces within the 259ha heritage site, except residential premises, have been gazetted as “no smoking” zones. And enforcement began on Jan 1, 2016.

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

In September 2019, Penang gazetted the Batu Ferringhi tourism area as a smoke-free zone.

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, the smoking rate stood at 21.3% in 2019, short of the 18.5% target for that year, while the target for 2025 is 15% and 2040 is 5%.

Last year, 30,648 compound notices, with a total value of RM7.6mil, were issued nationwide for smoking in eateries, said Health deputy director-general (Public Health) Datuk Dr Norhayati Rusli.

She said Selangor had the highest number of violations, with 6,414 notices issued, followed by Johor (3,095), Pahang (2,935), Perak (2,808) and Penang (2,725).

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