A total of 1,763 warning notices were issued by the Malacca Health Department since early this year until Dec 15, following gazetting of eateries as no-smoking areas through amendment of the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2018, made effective last Jan 1.
State executive councillor for health and anti-drugs, Low Chee Leong said these included 1,298 notices for not having no-smoking signs, 24 notices for failing to ensure patrons did not smoke, and 441 notices issued to smokers detected to be smoking.
He said within that period too, 7,619 premises and eateries in the three districts, namely Melaka Tengah, Alor Gajah and Jasin, were visited and inspected, besides carrying out enforcement education activities for the public.
"From the monitoring done, the state health department found that the majority of the premises operators had put up no-smoking signs and not providing ash trays at these premises.
"Public awareness of adhering to the no-smoking rule was good, but there were still some hardcore smokers who ignored the no-smoking rule, and most of them are local residents detected smoking at the eateries’ five-foot way, especially at night,” he told reporters after a no-smoking operation at Medan Selera Taman Merlimau Utara, Malacca, today.
Also present was state deputy health director (Public Health), Dr Amirullah Mohd Arshad.
Low said 31,587 no-smoking leaflets had been distributed, besides 247 public announcements made and nine briefing sessions held for eatery operators, the local authorities, non-governmental organisations and owners of premises.
He said with 12 days left before full enforcement of the smoking ban, the officers had been intensifying enforcement education, and beginning next year, he and his team would be going to schools and higher education institutions in the state to raise awareness against smoking among students.
"If smokers cannot kick the habit, they should at least respect the rights of others by not smoking in eateries,” said Low, who also called on all parties to support the effort so as protect people against the dangers of cigarette smoke.