The Health Ministry will not neglect the needs of smokers when implementing tobacco-free zones.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, however, encouraged smokers to quit the habit – for their own sakes as well as those of non-smokers.
"It's the democratic right (of smokers) and we will look into their needs. But at the same time smokers are encouraged to help to create a smoke-free environment," he said after attending the Revolution Smoke Free Recognition and Award Ceremony (RSF) at leading hotel here on Saturday (March 30).
Among those present were state Health and Anti-Drugs Committee chairman Low Chee Leong and Dr Ying-Ru Jacqueline Lo, the World Health Organisation representative for Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
Melaka is the first state to debut the RSF smoke-free policies with the support from 14 hotels.
Dr Dzulkefly said the RSF strengthens efforts to minimise exposure to toxins caused by smoking.
He also revealed that a standalone Tobacco Control Act would be enacted soon where smokers could light up at specified areas.
"We could also look onto the legal provisions to prohibit smoking in the vicinity of juveniles – even inside homes and private vehicles," he added.