Malaysia: Penang gains international recognition for its smoke-free campaign

20 November 2018
Opalyn Mok
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 20 — The Penang government has been recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the South-east Asian Tobacco Control Alliances for its initiatives to curb smoking in public.

State health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin received the award during the sixth Regional Meeting of Smoke-Free Cities in the Asia Pacific Region in Hoi An, Vietnam today.

“The award is an international recognition of the state government’s efforts in making Penang a smoke-free state,” he said in a statement.

He said the award will spur the Penang government to take more steps to turn the state into a smoke-free one within five years.

“This success has also made the country proud and is a significant effort in promoting a healthy environment and maintaining a cultural uniqueness through a smoke-free campaign at the World Heritage Site,” he said.

He added that the only other state to receive the same award was Melaka.

Dr Afif said the programme called Smoke-free Penang (PENBAR) is a partnership involving the Penang government, the state Health Department, the federal Health Ministry, the Malaysian Health Promotion Board, the local city council and non-government organisations, including the National Cancer Society of Malaysia and Green Lung.

He said the programme was introduced in accordance with Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to protect people from second-hand smoke.

As part of the PENBAR initiative, the state government gazetted six recreational parks as smoke-free on October 1, 2012.

It followed up by banning smoking in all buildings and public areas located within the George Town World Heritage Site on July 4, 2015.

The authorities also conduct regular enforcement to nab those who light up in non-smoking zones.