The ban on smoking in all public and state parks will be enforced from June 1 2017. From this date, smokers caught lighting up at any of Ipoh’s 50 state and public parks can be fined up to RM5,000 or face two years jail.
The state Health Department conducted an awareness programme called ‘Educational Enforcement’ at its public parks, before the full enforcement takes place. The programme included distribution of flyers and explaining the directive to members of the public.
The three-month awareness programme held prior to the ban received positive feedback from the public, and health authorities are ready to protect the public from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Through the programme, it is learned that the public is supportive of the ban because many people are becoming more health-conscious.
Surprise spot checks would be conducted from time to time as the element of surprise is key in deterring smokers from lighting up at these newly-gazetted areas. Park-goers should now be aware the areas that are deemed as no-smoking zones including pedestrian walkways, fields, playgrounds and game courts.
To effectively enforce the ban, surprise spot checks will be conducted and the offenders caught will be fined RM5,000.
The main aim of the ban and enforcement is not to punish smokers, but to make them pay close attention to the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke and ultimately, learn to quit.
If the ban goes well, it may be extended beyond public and state parks and existing no-smoking areas in the future.
It was reported that the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 was amended, gazetting public parks and other open areas as no-smoking zones.
Apart from public parks, other no-smoking areas included open-air public transport stops, air-conditioned food outlets, campsites, game courts, playgrounds, pedestrian pathways and playing fields.