SHAH ALAM, Jan 14 — The Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) should engage smokers with education and creating awareness instead of condoning the unhealthy habit by providing designated smoking areas, Sinar Harian reported today.
Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) deputy president Shaari Ahmad said the special smoking zone proposed to be placed 3 metres away from eateries would cause smokers to group together in a group, which would not be exemplary to children and teenagers.
“The designated smoking areas are proposed to be set up in areas that are not restricted to smokers. So what is the need to have the smoking areas? Does this mean smokers who smoke outside the designated smoking zone would be fined?
“We should not be encouraging the smoking habit but instead strengthen the no-smoking awareness campaign. The smoking ban at eateries is already clear cut,” he told the Malay daily.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Women’s Organisation for Tobacco Control Activities treasurer Noreen Abdullah said it would be more beneficial to use the RM1 million allocated to set up the designated smoking areas towards awareness campaigns and prevention programmes instead.
She said such programmes should be executed at all levels including in schools to curb second-hand smoking.
“Engage smokers bu educating them. Increase their awareness, such as the effects of second-hand smoking on the people around us, especially our wives and children.
“Providing the designated smoking area sends a message that smoking is encouraged when the fatwa has ruled the unhealthy habit as haram (forbidden),” she was quoted by Sinar Harian.
Recently, KPKT minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had announced that local authorities who wish to set up special smoking areas in public places within their respective areas can apply to the ministry for an allocation, with RM1 million set aside for this purpose.
She said each local authority would be allocated RM5,000 to set up the smoking zones.