Ministry wants more smoke-free hotels

KUALA LUMPUR - More hotels in Malaysia should be declared smoke-free in a bid to reduce the amount of second-hand smoke in public places, said the Health Ministry.

"There are a number of hotels where smoking is banned in the entire premises and this is encouraged.

"I am also confident that the people are receptive towards such an initiative and we have to push forward this agenda," said ministry deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman.

He said this during a joint operation to curb smoking in public vehicles like buses and taxis at the Sungai Besi toll plaza here yesterday.

Conducted simultaneously in every state, the operation was also to ensure that the "no smoking" sign was displayed in public vehicles.

According to the ministry, five people were jailed for offences related to the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 for the first three months of this year.

This is an increase from the four people jailed last year under the regulations, which make it an offence to smoke in public vehicles and public transportation terminals.

Public vehicle owners who fail to display "no smoking" signs in their vehicles can be fined up to RM3,000 (S$1,160) and jailed to a term not exceeding six months.