PENANG is aiming to be a smoke-free state in the next two to three years.
State Health, Agriculture, Agro-Based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said it is important for the public to understand the state’s commitment on the matter.
“We want to do away with the unhealthy smoking culture to create a healthy environment for everyone.
“Penang Health Department through Smoke-Free Penang (PENBAR) has been tasked to conduct a thorough review on a proposed plan and to identify certain smoking zones.
“It is better to have Penang as a smoke-free state, rather than gazetting certain smoke-free areas, one after another.
“We have banned smoking in schools, universities, clinics, and hospitals in the past. Now, we plan to gazette the entire state as a non-smoking state.
“However, certain areas will be considered and gazetted as smoking areas,” he told reporters after attending a public health campaign in Mydin Bukit Mertajam, today.
Dr Afif said that such practice was not new.
“Foreign cities such as Tokyo and London have done such initiative. I believe that it is time for Penang to take the lead here,” he said.
Malaysia has implemented a nationwide smoking ban on all food establishments on Jan 1 this year, with the aim to protect the public from exposure to cigarette smoke.
The public health campaign in Mydin Bukit Mertajam, which was organised by AIMST University and Malaysian Pharmacy Students’ Association (MyPSA), was aimed at creating awareness on cancer disease among the public.
Dr Afif, earlier in his speech, called on the people to do regular health checks.
“Prevention is better than cure,” he stressed.
Story and pix by Edmund Lee