All eateries nationwide will be cigarette smoke free zones from Jan 1, next year onwards said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
The directive would be enforced at all eateries comprising restaurant, coffee shops and hawker stalls located along the roadside.
Dr Lee said the Health Ministry will issue a directive for the purpose to be enforced from the date onwards.
He adds that the move which had been given the green light by Parliament, will be in addition to the existing public spaces and government buildings.
“We are aware that this directive had been in existence for a long time but it only involved certain restaurants only.
“However, now, all eateries irrespective of whether they are restaurants, air conditioned as well as restaurants and hawker stalls operating under the open air concept would need to adhere with this directive from next year onwards.
Dr Lee told this to reporters after opening the International Conference on Life Style Disease (AICLSDs) at the Asian Institute of Medical, Science and Technology, here today.
Present was Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of AIMST, Professor Emeritus Dr Harcharan Singh Sidhu.
Dr Lee said action would be taken against smokers and eatery owners who do not adhere to regulations as stated under The Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004, issued under the Food Act of 1983.
He adds that the ministry is also aware that the enforcement of the directive would receive a negative reaction from smokers as well as eatery owners, however the ministry will not compromise when it comes to the health aspect of the people in the country.
“The non-smoking community has the right to enjoy their food without being irritated by cigarette smoke which would affect their health and comfort.
“Traders also do not have to worry on the drop in customers numbers, as we are confident that more customers would patronise their establishments which is free from cigarette smoke,” he said.
Dr Lee said these are among steps taken by the Health Ministry to ensure Malaysians are protected from diseases brought on by cigarette smoke.
“This move would hopefully reduce the government expenditure when it comes to medical cost aspect attributed from cigarette smoke.
There are currently 23 areas designated smoke-free under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017.
These include entertainment centres, theatres, elevators, public toilets, air-conditioned eateries, public vehicles, airports, government premises and any area used for the purpose of assembly.