BUTTERWORTH (Jan 18): Penang plans to gazette the entire state as a smoke-free area in the next five years, in an effort to become a smoke-free island, said Dr Afif Bahardin.
The State Health, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman said this initiative would be implemented through the Smoke-Free Penang (Penbar) programme aimed at protecting the people from the dangers of cigarette smoke.
"The State government will work with the Health Department to ensure that this plan is implemented successfully and we will organise more public awareness programmes on the smoking ban in public areas and recreational parks," he told a press conference here.
The press conference was held in collaboration with the Nasi Kandar Pelita Restaurant chain.
The restaurant management announced the cessation of cigarette sales at all its premises from Jan 16.
According to Dr Afif, the initiative towards Penbar had begun with the gazetting of six public recreational parks in the State as a non-smoking areas since 2012, namely at the Air Itam Dam, Municipal Park, Botanical Garden, Teluk Bahang Dam, Ampang Jajar Town Park and Mengkuang Dam.
He said this was followed by the gazetting of the George Town World Heritage Site as a non-smoking area from July 4 2015.
However, he acknowledged that there were constraints in attempts to implement this comprehensive ban and the committee chaired by him was looking for ways to overcome the problems.
"The smoking ban throughout Penang should first take into account several factors including designation of special areas for smoking and we will have discussions to resolve issues," he said.