As of the beginning of 2019, Malaysia has declared a smoking ban in all restaurants, including open-air eateries which have caused quite an uproar. Citizens are not allowed to smoke cigarettes, vape, shisha, or any other smoke-producing substances containing nicotine in such places.
However, as it is a new ban that would affect a significant amount of citizens, the Health Ministry of Malaysia has given some leeway for smokers to adapt to the new rule. This includes allowing smokers to smoke in open-air areas, provided it is at least three metres away from any restaurant.
This had led to many smokers becoming creative if they want to puff away on their cigarettes and one dedicated Malaysian smoker ended up bringing his own measuring tape, taking full advantage of the three metres rule.
In a video that has gone viral on Facebook, it looks like on the first day of the ban, one smoker came prepared. The footage showed one man sitting at a table in a mamak while he holds one end of the measuring tape. The video pans across to the other end of the measuring tape, where his friend was holding it and smoking happily.
Meanwhile, another friend said, “Smoker friends, if you want to light up then make sure you do it far away. Three metres to be exact!” Some of his other friends were laughing at this as well while they enjoyed the smoke-free air in the eatery.
Complaints about smoking in restaurants and open-air places are nothing foreign in Malaysia. Although a number of people are complying to the rules of the ban, there are still some smokers who continue their usual habits and continuing to smoke in the newly declared non-smoking areas.
Smokers found not obeying the new ban would be fined a sum of RM10,000 or possibly face a two year sentence in prison. Owners of restaurants will also face a fine of RM2,500 if they allow customers to smoke in their establishment.
However, the Ministry of Health has declared the first six months as a grace period, by giving warnings first to anyone caught breaking this new law. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad wants to use this six months to educate smokers and to give some time for smokers to adapt to the ban in order to gear towards a healthier Malaysia.
Perhaps it’s a good time to make a new year resolution to kick the habit for good!
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