Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 21, 2007

Not all in favour of anti-smoking proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:01 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal by the Health Ministry to ban smoking in more public areas, including open-air eating premises, received mixed reactions.
The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners’ Association (Presma) and Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) commended the proposal.
“It’s a good move to protect second-hand smokers, especially children. But the government should be firm and prohibit smoking in all public areas,” said Presma president Jamarulkhan Kader.
MAH executive director B. Sarjit Singh said the proposal was welcome but more awareness campaigns should be carried out.
However, the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners’ Association president Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said it would be difficult for them to implement the ruling.
“We welcome the move but it will be a problem because we sell cigarettes in the premises,” he said.
Last week, the New Straits Times reported that the Health Ministry was finalising the Tobacco Product Control Bill which will see smoking being banned in National Service training camps nationwide, open-air eating premises, health centres and factory buses.
The bill is being drafted and would be presented to the cabinet by early next year.
Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said restaurant owners should change their mindset as more customers would visit their premises when the ruling was implemented.
He said the ministry was looking forward to banning smoking in more public places in the future.
Lee said smokers in the country spent at least RM15 million daily on cigarettes.
The amount was based on the estimated expenditure of three million smokers nationwide which could increase to four million by the year 2020.
He said the figure was alarming and more aggressive efforts were needed to curb the situation.
“It’s a waste of money and the government has to bear the cost of treating the diseases caused by smoking,” he said at Klinik Kesihatan Tanglin yesterday.
Lee had launched the Stop Smoking Infoline which offers help and information for smokers , with tips to quit the habit.

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