Malaysiakini Letter

Give smokers the option to light up at 8pm

Puthan Perumal  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | While the recent smoking ban at all eateries by the Health Ministry is much applauded, perhaps there can also be some room given (no pun intended) to smokers and operators of eateries on the same note.

It is clear that the underlying basis of this ban is public health. That is totally understood. And on that principle, I am in complete agreement.

However, there should be a mechanism to balance the issue of public health with that of the right of smokers, considering that smoking is not illegal. It is not encouraged, but it is legal nevertheless.

Since it is the issue of public health that is the basis of this ban, those in favour of this ban cannot choose one unhealthy lifestyle and at the same time condemn another.

This is where, perhaps, the Health Ministry may consider giving eateries the option to allow smoking from 8pm onwards.

For children, both toddlers or school-going ones, what business could they possibly have being out at eateries after 8pm? Children must get their nine or 10 hours sleep. They cannot be allowed to loiter at eateries after dark. Public health issue number one.

Having dinner after 8pm, or late night eating generally, has been said to be unhealthy and probably the cause of the rise in diabetes and other health-related issues. So, no more eating after 8pm for non-smokers. Public health issue number two.

For those non-smokers who just want to stay out after 8pm and hang out till late with friends, please refer back to public health issue number one. Get your sleep. You cannot have an unhealthy lifestyle.

The Health Ministry is doing this smoking ban in the interest of your health. Don't disrespect them by having another unhealthy lifestyle.

Based on the above, it would not be too farfetched to say that perhaps it would be fair to give eateries an option to allow for smoking after 8pm.

This is simply because logically, healthy non-smokers have no business being out at eateries after that hour in the first place. They should be at home sleeping. So the Health Ministry need not worry.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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