Suggestion for designated smoking areas not finalised yet, says Health Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The suggestion to provide designated smoking areas - particularly for eateries in tight spaces - has yet to be finalised, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

He said the Health Ministry remains open to receiving views and suggestions from the public, including input gathered through the recent engagement session with premises owners and traders.

ALSO READ: Govt mulls designated smoking areas for eateries in tight spaces

"It was just our viewpoint following the engagement session with over 30 premises owners and traders. If there is a request (for designated smoking areas), we will consider and assess its practicality and feasibility. We will listen and not be too rigid,” he told reporters after officiating the 28th Session Codex Committee on Fats and Oils meeting here on Monday (Feb 19).

Dr Dzulkefly said that from his own observation during visits to small and open food premises, non-smokers, including children, pregnant mothers and senior citizens, feel uncomfortable when exposed to cigarette smoke from nearby smokers.

"However, if we want to enforce the three-metre distance rule, we need to provide adequate space. For instance, in Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, I saw that it is almost impossible to enforce this rule.

"So, we are willing to consider the proposed smoking areas, not only at Jalan Alor but in any space-constraint situation, but with stringent conditions,” he said.

It had been previously reported that the ministry would consider providing designated smoking areas for dining premises in tight spaces, as done in developed countries like Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

This is because it was difficult for these types of eateries to adhere to the three-metre distance rule currently enforced. - Bernama

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