GEORGE TOWN - The Foochow Coffee Shops Owners Federation said its members would suffer a 30 per cent drop in business if the smoking ban was expanded to open-air premises.
Federation deputy president Toon Koon Ku said its 4,000 members from seven trade associations in Penang, Kedah and Perlis were already seeing a drop in their businesses on account of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
"We are already in dire straits. Now this smoking ban will hit our business even more as it will drive customers away," he said at a press conference here yesterday.
Toon urged the Health Ministry to engage all parties for an amicable solution before imposing the ban.
He added that the ministry's proposal to give a two-year-grace period and allot 40 per cent of a shop's floor space as a designated smoking area would not make any difference because business would still be affected.
On May 9, The Star front-paged a report on the Health Ministry's plan to ban smoking at parks and food outlets nationwide.
The ban would also be extended to include open-air premises and those without air-conditioning such as traditional coffeeshops, food courts and open-air stalls.