Malaysia: Keeping smokers out of non-smoking areas

19 February 2018:

SHAH ALAM: More than 16,000 compounds, amounting to RM4.6 million, have been issued to smokers in non-smoking zones until November.

Deputy director-general of health (public health) Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the ministry adheres to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which Malaysia has been a part of since 2003.

He said based on Article 8 of WHO FCTC, the fines on smokers in gazetted areas were punitive as smoking would pollute the surrounding areas and endanger others.

“The Health Ministry is committed to working with local authorities to ensure people follow the law and refrain from smoking in gazetted areas.

“Under Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2004 (CTPR), 16,488 compounds totalling RM4.6 million were issued to smokers.

“Besides that, 556 people have been charged in court,” he said, adding that the ministry held the key responsibility of enforcing the law against smoking in non-smoking areas.

Those caught are fined RM500 under CTPR 2004, and would be summoned to court if they failed to settle the fine within a month

Dr Azman said the gazettement of non-smoking areas had helped change smokers’ behaviour and the ministry would continue to expand the number of gazetted areas to protect non-smokers.

He said by having more smoke-free zones, smokers would find it difficult to smoke, thus compelling them to kick the habit.

Among the non-smoking areas listed under the CTPR (Amendment) 2017, which came into force in February last year, were observation towers in national and state parks, public parks, national parks, state parks, campsites, canopy bridges, playgrounds and game courts.

He said Malaysia had strengthened many aspects of tobacco control, such as national surveys to monitor smoking prevalence, increasing smoke-free places, improving cessation services, raising awareness through public campaigns and health warnings on cigarette packs, banning tobacco advertisements and raising the prices of cigarettes through taxes.

Dr Azman said: “The ministry will increase the availability and affordability of quit-smoking services, hold anti-smoking campaigns, continue enforcement and collaborate with other ministries and agencies to enforce tobacco-control measures.”

Source: New Straits Times