Ipoh's smoke-free Sikh temple gets WHO recognition

Devotees of Gurdwara Sahib Greentown learning the dangers of secondhand smoke from the information boards.

IPOH - Gurdwara Sahib Greentown has been awarded the Blue Ribbon of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in recognition of it being a smoke-free religious premises.

It is the first gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in the country to be accorded the honour.

"Almost all religions believe smoking and smoke emitting from cigarettes are hazardous," Malay­sian Health Promotion Board (MySihat) chief executive Datuk Dr Yahya Baba said during the presentation of the emblem yesterday.

Present were Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya and state health director Datuk Dr Nordiyanah Hassan.

"Religious premises play an essential role in conveying this message to their devotees and to encourage smokers to kick this dangerous habit," said Dr Yahya.

"At least, smokers could be considerate of non-smokers and choose not to light up in their presence," he added.

The gurdwara joins three other places of worship in the programme - the Sultan Idris Shah II State Mosque, the Taiping Catholic Church, run by the National Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Sri Vellai Vinayagar temple in Teluk Intan.

"We are working to get Buddhist temples to be involved in this programme, too," said Dr Yahya, adding that they would start in Teluk Intan.

The Blue Ribbon emblem is a recognition by the WHO for indivi­duals and organisations advocating smoke-free environments.

The programme here is jointly organised by MySihat and the state health department to protect the public, especially non-smokers, from cancerous cigarette smoke.