Malaysia: They can only puff in designated yellow circles in heritage enclave

2 August 2016

GEORGE TOWN: If you are craving for nicotine inside the no-smoking heritage enclave here, look for the yellow semi-circle marked with a smoking sign.

This is the only space where you can legally have a puff in the heritage enclave. There are about 30 such spots now set up away from where people congregate.

Outside of this circle, smokers face a RM300 fine if caught smoking.

“Since some smokers just don’t want to stop, and we don’t want to be fining people all the time, we created these smoking corners for them to light up.


Smoke rings A smoker having a puff at a specially designated zone at the heritage site in Lorong Stewart, Penang.  — CHAN BOON KAI/ The Star

“You have the right to smoke, but you don’t have the right to contaminate the air and expose your loved ones and friends to secondhand smoke,” said state Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

Enforcement of the no-smoking law throughout the world heritage site except for private homes began on Jan 1.

While smoking corners are common in airports and hotels, George Town is believed to be the only no-smoking district in Malaysia with these little corners of refuge for smokers.

The corners are not roofed so the smoke will dissipate quickly. And you will have to carry your own portable ashtray.

“No one will throw your cigarette butts for you. Keep your own butts till you find a rubbish bin,” Phee said yesterday.

He said for now, those who smoke outside the semi-circles will get a notice of offence and a short lecture on the dangers of smoking from Health Department and city council enforcers.

“But we did slap a RM300 fine on a few people this year. When enforcers spoke to them, they argued and challenged them,” Phee said, adding that the Health Department would soon disclose the number of those fined in a public update, in an effort to keep the heritage enclave smoke-free.