Smokers in Malaysia want designated areas in restaurants to be maintained

Smokers in Malaysia want designated areas in restaurants to be maintained

PETALING JAYA: Some smokers have urged the Health Ministry to allow restaurants to maintain smoking and non-smoking sections following its planned move to ban the habit in all eateries and parks nationwide.

Company executive Benedict Ng said while the move would promote a healthy lifestyle, designated smoking areas should still be provided at eateries.

"I understand if smoking is prohibited in public places like museums. But I think restaurants should be allowed the choice of banning smoking or not.

"I may refuse to patronise places which do not allow smoking," said the 27-year-old who said he had started his smoking habit from the age of 15.

Ng also questioned if the move could be enforced effectively as Malaysia has many food stalls by the roadside.

"Smoking is also part of the lepak culture that is common in mamak shops and this may be hard to get rid of," he said.

A smoker who only wished to be identified as Nurani, 28, said as a paying customer, she was "entitled to my vices if there is a section for smokers".

However, there are some smokers who do not mind the no-smoking rule.

A heavy smoker known only as Eddie said he understood how non-smokers felt in a smoky environment.

The 40-year-old, who had picked up the habit at 18, said it would not be much trouble for him to just walk out of a cafe or restaurant where he was eating to smoke if he needed a quick puff.

A 28-year-old smoker known as Lizana welcomed the move, saying that it would help her control her addiction.

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