Smoking ban in eateries to protect people’s health, says MP

Dr Yii (centre) showing the standard ‘No Smoking’ sign at Koufu Food Court. With him are Yong (right) and Koufu Food Court proprietor Bernard Chin.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Feb 25: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii opined that the implementation of the smoking ban is important because based on the national morbidity survey done in 2015, there has been an increase in smoking prevalence in Sarawak since 1996.

In 1996, Sarawak’s figure stood at 22.3 per cent, but by 2015, it climbed to 25.4 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 22.8 per cent.

“What is worrying is smoking among school children in Sarawak. Statistics indicate that it is one of the highest in Malaysia at 19.8 per cent, compared to the national average of 11.5 per cent,” he said at the soft launching of the ‘No Smoking’ awareness campaign at Koufu Food Court, 4-1/2 Mile here, today.

Dr Yii cautioned that lung cancer is the third highest form of cancer in the state, and 85 per cent of such cases were due to smoking.

“So, this smoking ban, in the long term, will guarantee the general well-being of our people.”

On the ‘No Smoking’ signs in coffee shops, Dr Yii said if eateries do not put up such signs in their premises, they will be fined RM3,000 if they are caught after the six-month educational period is over.

Dr Yii told those present that the first country to implement the smoking ban was Ireland, and the result was startling.

“A study showed that after Ireland implemented a smoking ban in eateries, there was a drop in hospital admission for cardiac diseases, which is linked to the smoking habit. From this, we know that in the long-term, this policy will be beneficial not only to Sarawak but the nation as a whole.”

He revealed that he and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong had 500 high quality ‘No Smoking’ signs that would be distributed to coffee shops in the city.

The smoking ban in eateries was implemented in West Malaysia on Jan 1 this year, and Sarawak would follow suit starting this Friday (March 1).

“The ban does not stop people from smoking. Those who want to smoke can do so outside … three metres from eateries.” — DayakDaily