Kuching City North Commission (DBKU) will enforce a smoke-free zone in all coffee shops, public toilets and open spaces in its area of jurisdiction from Jan 1 next year.
Datuk Bandar of Kuching City North Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai said the exercise jointly run with the state Health Department is more like an educational programme to discourage people from smoking in eateries and their surroundings.
In line with the move, he said all the 320 licensed eateries within DBKU area will display a smoke-free zone notice to declare they are no-smoking areas.
“Effective Jan 1 next year, DBKU together with state Health Department will enforce a smoke-free zone in all licensed eateries and open spaces, which is more of an educational programme…the move is part of DBKU’s effort towards a clean, beautiful and safe (CBS) city, and for a tobacco-free generation,” he told a press conference.
Earlier, he officiated a briefing on dangers of cigarettes and tobacco control ordinance at Level 5, DBKU library at the Islamic Complex, Jln P Ramlee.
Abang Wahap hoped that operators of eating outlets would cooperate with the DBKU and Health Department to ensure the success of the programme, although DBKU would not issue them with compounds.
According to him, issuance of compounds is the responsibility of the Health Department under the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations 2004, which provides for a RM5,000 fine or one year jail.
He also said DBKU would make no-smoking zone one of the conditions for coffee shops to obtain licence from Jan 1 next year.
Elaborating, Abang Wahap said the number of smokers in the state had increased by 22.3 per cent in 2006 to 25.4 per cent last year, describing the situation as worrying.
Because of that, he said the Health Ministry had set a target to decrease the number of smokers in the country by 15 per cent and the government had spent RM3 billion on patients suffering from cancer and heart disease due to smoking.
Source : Jacob Achoi @ The Borneo Post Online