Monday, 4 March 2013

Live smoke-free life and be rewarded

The public will play a leading role in the government’s fight against second-hand smoke through the Blue Ribbon campaign.

Through the campaign, the Health Ministry hopes to empower and encourage the public to practise a healthy lifestyle and protect their loved ones from second-hand smoke.

For starters, individuals and corporations who voluntarily make their premises smoke-free will be honoured through three awards.

The first is the Blue Ribbon certificate given to any establishment that voluntarily implement indoor and outdoor smoke-free environment. There will be a review every two years.

The Blue Ribbon media award will be conferred to the media for creating awareness on the campaign while the outstanding achievement award will be given to any individual, civil society or organisation who have made significant contributions in initiating and contributing to a smoke-free environment.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said there was a need for a “bottom-up” nationwide movement that would result in a tobacco-free lifestyle.

“We realised that awareness among the public on dangers of second-hand smoke is high, so it is better to work together from bottom-up. I think the impact will be greater.

“The campaign would give the community a sense of ownership and communicate the importance of social solidarity for protection against second-hand smoke,” he said after launching the Blue Ribbon campaign yesterday.

The Malaysian Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2011 revealed that 40% or 2.3 million adults were exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace, 40% (7.6 million) at home and 71% (8.6 million) at restaurants.

The survey also found that 83.5% of the public supported 100% smoke-free restaurants, 92.2% of adults believed smoking causes serious illnesses and 85.8% adults believed that second-hand smoke caused serious illness to non-smokers.

Liow stressed that the campaign was part of the ministry’s continuous efforts to get the nation to be 100% smoke free.

“We hope that this process of public recognition will get people to jump on the bandwagon. I am confident that if everyone has awareness and takes the initiative, we can have a smoke-free environment,” he said.

He added that the ministry would also work with corporate and community leaders to build localised smoke-free organisations or smoke-free zones in residential areas.

He also said Penang had become the second state after Malacca to have smoke-free zones.

He said the ministry had approved six areas to be gazetted as smoke-free zones. They were reservoirs and recreational parks, including the Botanical Gardens.

These areas have been gazetted as smoke-free since October last year.

“I hope they’ll apply for more historical sites to be smoke-free,” he said.

Under the Smoke-Free Malacca programme, five areas in the Malacca had been gazetted as smoke-free zones since 2011.

Source : CLICK


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