Enforcing smoking bans at eateries

Philip Wong

Modified 6 Jan 2020, 9:53 am

LETTER | It is most timely for the agencies to catch culprits who flout the new smoking bans at eateries in Malaysia starting on Jan 1. In addition, the owners of these eateries are also fined should there be smokers within their premises. 

Hopefully these actions and surprise checks will continue indefinitely until people fully respects the laws and abide by them.

While the actions by the agencies are commendable, they also point to a number of issues in our society. 

Foremost is the need to actually force people to comply with simple basic etiquette of abiding by the laws, something which many other societies like Japan, Europeans take for granted, having these values taught to them from a young age. 

This is one of the fundamental flaws in our education system which emphasises on grades rather than values. Another worrisome aspect of using force is that when the authorities are not present, these blatant acts by smokers will continue. 

Maybe the authorities should just use the CCTV cameras in most of these premises to fine the owners so that appropriate actions will be taken by them to ensure that their guests comply with the laws or they risk losing their licences should such acts continue unabated within their premises.

Smoking and vaping continue to rise in many developing and developed countries despite the huge tax on these items. 

Apparently, the smoking habit is something that some people just cannot go without, even to the point of sacrificing wealth and health. 

Most worrisome is that these adults give bad impressions to young adolescents and basically give rise to the next generation of smokers. 

Some of these may go further and start indulging in drugs that are even more detrimental to the person, family, and society. 

It appears to be a losing battle to ban smoking altogether around the world even though the numbers are decreasing slowly but still more need to be done. 

Enlisting others like filmmakers, TV shows, athletes and famous personalities could be further pursued to ensure that the world is free from smoking hazards. It should be a goal for all nations.

The writer is the director of the Sarawak Institute for Public Affairs.

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

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