We are grateful today is the start of smoking ban in Sabah which means families with children and babies can enjoy the park and eat at restaurants without the smell of cigarettes.
It is know that smoking cause lung cancer and other negative health conditions. Smoking by women during their pregnancy increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are also at greater risks for SIDS. The chemicals in secondhand smoke appear to affect the infant’s brain that interfere with its breathing. There are more than 7,000 chemicals and hundred of them are toxic, while about 70 of it can cause cancer. This includes, children with existing health problem will have more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections and SIDS when exposed to secondhand smoke. Therefore, it is understandable when parents like us get upset when someone smoke in front of our children.
1. CAN I MAKE A COMPLAINT AGAINST SMOKERS?
Dr Lee Boon Chye, Deputy Health Minister said public can act as the ministry’s eyes and ears once the smoking ban is enacted by lodging complaints via its hotline at 03-88924530. If you see someone smoking at a restaurant or places that does not allowed smoking, you may send in your report to the ministry’s hotline. Do snap some photos as your proven record.
2. CAN I TAKE PHOTOS OF THE SMOKERS?
So may asked. Is it illegal for me to take photos of someone without their knowledge? No, not in Malaysia anyway. There are no laws against taking photos in public.
Under Penal Code – Section 509 – Word of gesture intended to insult the modesty of a person.
“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any person, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such person, or intrudes upon the privacy of such person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.”
3. WHERE ARE THE LOCATIONS THAT SMOKERS ARE BANNED?
There are 23 locations where smoking is strictly prohibited.
1. Entertainment centres, or theatres (does not include pubs, discotheques, night clubs, or casinos during their operation hours)
2. Any area of a hospital or clinic
3. Public lifts and toilets
4. Air-conditioned eating places or shops
5. Public vehicles and public transport terminals
7. Any area of government premises
8. Any area of a building used for assemblies (other than private or residential buildings, or in a public place)
9. Any area of an educational institution or higher educational institution
10. Any area of a nursery
11. School buses
12. Any floor with a service counter in buildings listed in the Second Schedule
13. Any area of shopping complexes
14. Any area of petrol stations
15. Any area in stadiums, sports complexes, fitness centres, or gyms
16. Any religious building or public place
17. Any area of a library
18. Any area of internet cafes
19. Any area of National Service training grounds
20. Any air conditioned working spaces with a centralized air conditioned system
21. Any rest and recreational areas in buildings, playgrounds, or gardens, and the area within 3 meters of that place
22.Any public parks, except an open public car park
23. Any observation towers, camp site, canopy bridges, and 5 meters from the entrance/exit of the canopy bridge (national parks and state parks)
These area includes the surrounding area within its borders, and the distances of 3 meters from any permanent roof connected to the main building.
4. HOW WILL THIS NEW SMOKING BAN LAW BE ENFORCED?
We don’t know exactly but they’ll probably involved the “authorised officers” in our Food Act 1983, which defined as “any medical officer of health or any assistant environmental health officer of Ministry of Health of of any local authority, or any suitable qualified person appointed by the Minister to be an authorised officer.”
Health Ministry’s statement that their existing 5,000 officers will take on the duty of monitory establishments. Whether the police will be part of it, its uncertain. But for now, you have the right to lodge reports of offenders to the authorities mentioned above.
5. WHAT ARE THE FINE FOR SMOKERS WHO BREAK THE LAW?
The punishment for smoking in a prohibited place can be fine at RM10,000 or up to 2 years in jail. According to Dr. Lee Boon Chye, Deputy Health Minister, the first 6 months after the ban effect will serve more as a grace period to educate smokers. However, that does not mean you won’t be punish for breaking the law, the enforcement officer will and can fine you. If you encounter with stubborn smokers, you can make a report to the Health Ministry’s hotline at 03-88924530, smokers who don’t cooperate with officers can be penalized on the spot.
Written by Stella Matilda