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KL’s battle to snuff out cigarettes rages on 4 years later

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite massive media campaigns and stern warnings, KL’s battle to eradicate errant smokers in food premises rages on.

The smoking ban in eateries, under Regulation 11 of Tobacco Products Control Regulations 2004 (PPKHT) was introduced on Jan 1, 2019.

Following this, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) embarked on information campaigns through the mass and social media, warning the public that action would be taken against smokers and business owners that permitted smoking.

Despite the ban, rebels are still puffing away at restaurants. Videos have been circulating on social media of smokers defying government regulations.

Recently, a group of men in religious attire was caught on video smoking near a family with children at food stall. The incident was captured on video and shared by a furious doctor on Facebook, igniting a firestorm of criticism.

The impunity with which smokers continue to flout these regulations raises questions on whether the government is serious on the issue.

Even members of parliament (MPs) have been caught lighting up in the hallowed halls of Parliament itself. In a parliamentary hearing in March, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong pointed out this irony, questioning the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to combat smoking.

Nevertheless, DBKL says it remains steadfast in its efforts to create a smoking-free environment.

The local authority said it had put up no-smoking signs in gazetted areas to increase awareness among smokers.

“A total of 23 non-smoking areas have been gazetted including covered walkways.

“From time to time, planning, implementation and enforcement are done to increase PBT’s action against smokers who do not abide by the law,” it said in a statement today.

“The Kuala Lumpur Smoke-Free (KLBAR) initiative under the management of DBKL is also still continuing,” it said.

DBKL also organised the MySchoolBus@Wilayah campaign on March 13 this year, where anti-smoking stickers were pasted on school buses and vans.

“The campaign aims to raise awareness and remind school students and bus operators about the KLBAR campaign,” it added.

Last year, three No Smoking Operations were conducted, resulting in the issuance of 181 compounds.

Additionally, three operations were carried out from January to April this year and a total of 146 compounds were issued.

It also said enforcement action can also be taken against individuals and premises owners who allowed smoking.

“It is an offence if premises owners fail to display a no-smoking sign and provide cigarette trays to customers.

“Premises owners have the right to prohibit smoking within their establishment, with a no smoking radius of less than 3m from the last dining table.

Source: New Straits Times

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