Starting next year, smokers who breach no-smoking laws could have to clean toilets, collect rubbish or even cut grass.
The government proposed to impose community service on those who are caught lighting up at public eateries, when full enforcement of the smoking ban begins next year. According to a recent poll on the Ministry's website, 93% of respondents said it was a good idea.
The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control also backed this suggestion, saying this is a good alternative punishment as opposed to just giving out fines. It says if it's implemented, local authorities should be at the forefront of its enforcement. It's because they have the personnel to make sure that no one lights up at no-smoking zones. The community service could also benefit their own community programmes.
Meanwhile, MCTC says a majority of smokers want to stop, but the environment around them makes it hard to do so. They're continually exposed to things like subtle advertising at eateries, while cigarettes are being sold in plain sight in convenience stores and petrol stations. As such, it wants the government to come up with better laws to handle this, maybe by banning the display of cigarette packets from shelves.
Everyone should also do their part to encourage smokers to quit. It's good for their pockets and health, and let's face it, smokers' breath is the worst. Except for the writer Roshini Ravindran. Her breath smells like fresh mint.
By: Roshini Ravindran