THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has reaffirmed the smoking ban in eateries and noted that the law introduced early this year does not breach the liberty and equality of any individual.
In delivering the judgment, Justice Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya dismissed a challenge against the smoking ban on grounds that its enforcement does not breach Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution which guarantee fundamental liberties.
She also said it was wrong to say the right to smoke cigarettes would be violated with the ban on cigarette smoking.
While the challenge of its legality is far from over, as there is likely an appeal against the court’s decision, the fight to support and promote a healthy community lifestyle continues.
Any law is good if it backs a good cause, more so, if it helps the government to reduce the national health care budget to fight chronic diseases, especially those related to smoking.
These non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – also known as lifestyle diseases – are responsible for nearly 70% of deaths globally.
Ischaemic heart disease tops the cause of deaths worldwide, followed by stroke, while chronic obstructive airways disease (a smoking-related chronic lung disease), lung cancer and diabetes are the fourth, fifth and sixth biggest killers respectively.
Data from the Department of Statistics and Health Ministry shows that the leading cause of death in Malaysia in 2016 was ischaemic heart disease (13.2%).
Other NCDs such as stroke, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic obstructive airways rank among the top 10 causes of death in this country.
While we are not asking for a total ban on smoking, the three-metre radius ruling from dining areas is hardly a hindrance to any smoker.
And while smokers have the right to smoke, non-smokers have the right to free air too.
As such, the law must be respected to govern the public and social order.
Most Asean countries, except Indonesia, have imposed a ban on smoking in eateries and public places.
Countries such as Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, in some cases, have also banned smokers from standing near dining outlets to have a puff.
While smokers complain about such laws in our own country which, to be honest, are less rigid, why do these people would often obey the tougher smoking rulings without any resistance when they are abroad?
It’s important that everyone toes the line once they are out of the comfort of their own homes.