Non-smokers at North-South highway R&R areas fume over those lighting up

Non-smokers at North-South highway R&R areas fume over those lighting up
Travellers and others want better enforcement to ensure no one lights up at R&R areas along highways.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

JOHOR BARU - Non-smokers want smokers to stop lighting up at the rest areas of the North-South Expressway (NSE) which have been designated as non-smoking zones.

Civil servant M. Mahadevan said their selfish act reflected their blatant disregard for the law and disrespect towards non-smokers.

"You can see many of them smoking openly at the R&R areas," he said.

Mahadevan said lack of enforcement was the reason why smokers were still lighting up at "non-smoking areas".

Property consultancy director Samuel Tan Wee Cheng said this was a perpetual problem.

"While enforcement is much needed, education is also important and should start from home.

"Having designated smoking areas is another possible solution," he said.

PLUS Malaysia Bhd chief operating officer Mohammad Fuad Khusairi said enforcement of the smoking ban at PLUS R&R was conducted by the state and district health departments.

He said the initiative was implemented from November 2014 at 24 rest and service areas along PLUS-operated highways.

"Currently, there are no plans to set up dedicated smoking rooms at the R&Rs.

"Nevertheless, we are in discussions with the Health Ministry to further explore other options and initiatives to promote healthy living among highway users," said Fuad.

He said "non-smoking zones" are designated at a 3m radius from the covered building including playground.

"We have installed adequate non-smoking signages to remind highway users and provide smoking corners at one or two pavilions at each rest area.

"Smokers can also smoke at parking areas located further away from covered buildings."

Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said shortage of staff was the main reason why the state or district health department could not conduct enforcement duties at the rest areas.

"We hope PLUS could deploy theirs to nab smokers at the non-smoking zones along the expressway. We will assist them."

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