No Smoking

Ban on Smoking in Malaysian Cafes and Restaurants Takes Effect

Malaysia implemented a ban on smoking in all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open-air hawker centers and street stalls as of the New Year.

According to the new law, tobacco products will not be consumed inside and outside of all enterprises providing food and beverage services.

Customers will be allowed to smoke 3 meters away from the restaurants and cafes while the country’s health minister said that they are trying to extend the coverage area of the law.

Some 5,000 officials will be in charge of inspecting the tobacco ban, the health ministry’s statement said.

Customers who violate the ban will be fined up to 10,000 Malaysian ringgits ($2,418) or sentenced to two years in prison. Owners of food establishments who fail to display no-smoking signs can be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to one year.

Rooftop restaurants were also included in the law and smoking rooms in some restaurants will be removed as well.

The move was to not only encourage smokers to kick the habit, but also to protect non-smokers from second-hand tobacco smoke.

As of Wednesday, the government has issued over 1,400 warning letters for contravening the regulations.

However, the Malaysian Health Ministry will give offenders a grace period of six months to comply with the ban, during which it would educate and warn restaurant owners and smokers.

The ban is Malaysia’s commitment as a member state to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adheres to the guidelines under Article 8 of the World Health Organization.

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