Ban smoking in public places, authorities urged

KUCHING: A call to impose ban and fines on people caught smoking in public areas rang out loud and clear in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday.
Piasau state assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew said that the relevant authorities should begin banning smoking at workplaces, five-footways, open air eateries, coffee shops and street hawkers’ stalls.

“It is common knowledge that there are many non-smokers, pregnant mothers, infants and children becoming victims of second-hand smoke.

“I am extremely concerned by the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke on their health,” he said when debating State Budget 2019.

He added that studies have concluded that a non-smoker inhaling second-hand smoke was 30 per cent more likely to suffer lung cancer, stroke and many other types of cancer compared to the smoker.
“Infants and children will experience more frequent and severe asthma attacks and respiratory infections,” said Ting.

He also said that while it was entirely up to a person whether to smoke or not, a smoker should be mindful of non-smokers’ right to clean air.

“Therefore, it is imperative for the government to formulate guidelines to regulate smokers to smoke in a controlled environment so that their action has absolutely no adverse health impact on others,” Ting said.
According to him, the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) was in the process of gazetting a law to prohibit people from lighting up cigarettes in several identified smoke-free public areas.

“It is my hope to see that other local authorities will also follow DBKU’s initiative and that one day we can have smoke-free public areas for the whole of Sarawak.

“Hopefully, this too will encourage smokers to abandon smoking, thus ensuring a healthier lifestyle for not just themselves but also for the rest of us, and help create a cleaner environment with less litter of cigarette butts,” he added.