The Penang government’s efforts to make the state smoke-free through its Smoke-Free Penang Campaign (Penbar) has gained international recognition.
State health, agriculture, agro-based industry and rural development committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said their efforts had been praised by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Organisation (Seatca) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“I received the recognition when I attended the 6th Asia Pacific Smoke-Free Region meeting in Hoi An, Vietnam, today and Melaka too gained similar recognition.
He said they started Penbar in 2012 to fulfil Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
He said the programme was a smart partnership between the state government, state health department, health ministry, Malaysian Health Promotion Board (MySIHAT), Penang City Council and various non-governmental organisations (NGO).
“It was started to protect the Penang community from second-hand smoke and we did it by implementing an effective smoke-free policy,” he said.
Afif said that for a start, eight recreational parks had been gazetted as non-smoking areas since Oct 1 2012, followed by smoking bans in all buildings and public areas in the George Town World Heritage Site on July 4.
He said the recognition would continue to propel Penang towards becoming the first state to be smoke-free in Malaysia in the next five years.