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    Jun 19, 2014

    R&R stops in Malaysia to be smoke-free


    ALL rest and recreation (R&R) stops along highways are to be designated as "no-smoking" zones by year-end, with the coverage expanding to a radius of 3m around the covered areas of the facility.

    Health Minister S. Subramaniam, who announced this yesterday, said it would mean that eateries and even toilets at R&Rs would be smoke-free.

    He added that the ministry had set a target of lowering the number of smokers in the country by 16 per cent. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2011 showed that 4.7 million Malaysians - 23.1 per cent - were smokers.

    Vowing to expand "no-smoking" zones in the country, Dr Subramaniam said discussions had been held with the relevant agencies and all had agreed to gazetting R&Rs as "no-smoking" zones.

    "We want to implement this as soon as possible.

    "The smoke-free zones will cover a 3m radius within the area," he told reporters after launching International No Tobacco Day here.

    Dr Subramaniam said that Kuala Lumpur City Hall would also gazette its sheltered walkways, spanning 23km in the city centre, as smoke-free zones.

    "The authorities will also be stepping up enforcement and monitoring these areas to deter people from smoking.

    "I know that enforcement will be a challenge as it covers a large area but it will be done.

    "It is only through strict enforcement that we can drive our message across," he said, adding that offenders could be fined between RM250 (S$97) and RM500.