Recently, Penang’s Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has proposed the state to implement a ban on single-use plastic straws and polystyrene cups. Following this move, Dr Afif Bahardin, State Health Committee chairman has also proposed a ban that will benefit the health of people and the environment.
He has proposed a ban on smoking in all public areas, and if everything goes according to plan, Penang will be a smoke-free state in five years from now, reported The Star.
Wow, Penang on a roll recently!
“Penang aims to be a smoke-free state within the next five years with the initiative that was first carried out under the Cigarette Smoke-Free Penang (Penbar) programme,” he said.
“It will be the same concept as Penbar, which focuses on protecting the people of Penang from the dangers of cigarette smoke, but on a much larger scale.”
Even though the smoking ban is already active in six public and recreational parks after the Georgetown World Heritage Site in 2015, Dr Afif said that he wants to see Penbar be made into a statewide initiative.
According to The Sun Daily, the programme’s focus was on protecting the people of Penang from the health risks of cigarette smoke, he said after opening the state-level World Tobacco Day 2018.
Also present at the event were state health director, Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah and National Cancer Society of Malaysia chairman (Penang branch), Datuk Seri Dr T. Devaraj.
“While we are serious about our mission in prohibiting smoking in all public areas, there will be special areas reserved for smokers to puff,” Afif said.
He then added that there were minimal complaints and objections from shop owners, restaurants and hotels when the smoking ban was implemented.
Meanwhile, Chow hopes that Penbar can be spread further beyond the current gazetted areas.
“Several areas such as the George Town World Heritage site and Penang Hill have been gazetted as smoke-free,” he said.
“Enough publicity has been given on this issue. The Health Ministry has done so much over the past 20 to 30 years to create awareness about the adverse effects of smoking.”
Since July 4, 2015, all buildings and public spaces within the 259ha heritage site, except residential premises, were gazetted as no-smoking zones and enforcement began on January 1, 2016.
A fine of up to RM10,000 or jail up to two years would be faced by smokers upon conviction.
However, for those craving a puff, 30 yellow semi-circle spots marked with a smoking sign was later introduced and set up away from public areas.
Penang sure is leading the way to a cleaner Malaysia, and we hope to see this being implemented in other parts of the country as well.
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