How can Malaysia move forward in tandem with other countries when we keep making U-turns in our decisions, the latest being the ban on smoking even having al fresco meals? The government is seen buckling under pressure from certain quarters but it had missed the points of why smoking ban has to be implemented in the first place:
- About 23% of the Malaysian population are smokers and this means that almost one in every four is a smoker.
- Seven out 10 (or 8.6 million) adults are exposed to secondhand smoke at public places like restaurants; four out of every 10 adults, inside their houses; and four of 10 adults at workplaces.
- Tobacco use kills 6 million people worldwide annually and 600,000 of them were non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke.
- The amount of money ‘burned’ by Malaysians (if were to smoke a very conservative figure of 3 sticks of cigarettes per day) is RM4.791 billion able to fund 399,218 students with a yearly scholarships of RM12,000 each.
- A 2004 report showed that the medical cost in treating three of the most common smoking-related diseases per annum was RM3,053 million. This cost of treating have skyrocketed several folds considering the lapse of 14 years.
With RM1 trillion debt hanging around the necks of all Malaysians, why must the government give in to the pressure of irresponsible people who place profit (sellers) and ‘pleasure’ (smokers) above all?
We want the government to ban smoking at eateries completely as its original intention because we do not see the logic of people wanting to smoke at a place where people have their meals.
Press Statement, October 2018