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Bukit Siol, Jalan Semariang Petra Jaya

93050 Kuching Sarawak

‘Ensure enough smoking areas for smokers’
Posted on : 03 Jan 2019  Source of News: Sarawak Tribune

Marvin Kudang Sawing

KUCHING: Smokers are hoping that the state government would not rush the implementation of smoking ban at all eateries before  preparing proper smoking areas.

In October last year, the federal government imposed a smoking ban at food premises nationwide which went into effect on Jan 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, checks by New Sarawak Tribune at eateries around Kuching found that many were still smoking despite the ban.

Marvin Kudang Sawing, 26, a fresh graduate, said there was no problem with the smoking ban but it needed more time so that it could be properly implemented.

“To ensure that all people follow the rules, first make sure there are enough smoking areas for smokers,” he said.

He added that the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) had provided several smoking spots, and shopping malls such as the Spring had also created special areas for smokers as they would automatically smoke in the designated areas.

” I was given the understanding that the Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) director under the Health Ministry has called to discuss with the stakeholders especially eatery association on the recently gazetted Federal Anti Smoking Law and the implementation. “

“If there is no proper place for smokers, they will smoke anywhere they want,” he said, adding that it could not be denied that it was a smoker’s habit to smoke after eating.

Therefore, he hoped the state government would quickly work with all the local councils or relevant parties to set up more smoking stands and also gather inputs from smokers before the implementation.

Robinson Sidi

“When this is properly implemented, it will instil a good habit among smokers where they would not simply throw the cigarette butts, and also prevent people from inhaling second-hand smoke.”

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Robinson Sidi said that he was not against the ban but had hoped that more public awareness would be done before the implementation.

“People in urban areas may be aware of it, but what about those in rural areas?” he said.

Robinson, who uses an electronic cigarette also known as vape, said the Health Ministry should create more awareness in both the urban and rural areas, not only through posters but also on radios, television, newspapers and social media.

“West Malaysia and countries like Singapore are doing it, why not Sarawak?” he said.

“It is also hoped that those who use vape will also vape at the designated smoking area.”

As for Alfie Allin, who is a non smoker, he hoped that more smoking stands would be in place so that the ban could be implemented as soon as possible.

Alfie Allin

“I am not against smokers, but it will be good if they have their own smoking spots to prevent second-hand smokes,” he said.

He also pointed out that smokers needed to be aware of the dangers of cigarette smoke as it could affect people’s health such as causing sinus, asthma, and breathing difficulties.

“It is better to have the smoking stand three metres away from eateries rather than giving smokers ashtrays. This is because there are smokers who still throw cigarette butts on the floor although ashtrays are provided,” he said.

He added once the ban was implemented, officers from the Health Ministry must continue to monitor to ensure smokers follow the law.

“Shop owners must also be strict and advise smokers to smoke at the designated area.”

Meanwhile, Local and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said that the state government was for the smoking ban but was putting it on hold.

He added the State Cabinet would discuss the matter before deciding to impose the ban.

“Sarawak is not immediately enforcing the ban as it has its own local government ordinances.

“I was given the understanding that the Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) director under the Health Ministry has called to discuss with the stakeholders especially eatery association on the recently gazetted Federal Anti Smoking Law and the implementation,” he said, adding that he had met the director on Dec 28 on what needed to be adapted on the implementation.

DBKU had implemented the smoking ban since two years ago through their own local government by-law but not all the local councils in Sarawak were doing it.

So far there are seven public Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) under DBKU with three at the Waterfront area, two at the Reservoir Park and two in Satok.

According to DBKU mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai, various eateries and food stalls in the commission’s areas had DSAs of their own.

“DBKU only caters DSAs for public places. We may put it if there are requests for it.”

On the nationwide smoking ban, those caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined up to RM10,000 or two years in jail, while eateries that are found allowing customers to smoke will face a maximum fine of RM2,500.