Wednesday September 29, 2004

Malaysia imposes fines for teenage smokers

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysian smokers under the age of 18 will be fined up to 1,000 ringgit (263 US dollars) under the new anti-smoking measures imposed by the government.
Anyone caught selling cigarettes to them would be fined up to 10,000 ringgit (2,630 US dollars), or jailed not more than two years, Health Minister Chua Soi Lek told reporters after launching the Health Care New Look Emergence Ceremony here Monday.
Chua said his officers could now act with the gazette of the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations (Amendments 2004) which took effect last Thursday.
"About 3.6 million smokers in Malaysia are youths and the government is targeting to reduce the number," he said.
Under the amendments, the list of non-smoking areas has been extended to include public toilets, internet cafes, libraries, places of religious worship, libraries and school buses.
Anyone caught smoking in such areas are liable to a fine of not more than 10,000 ringgit or not exceeding two years' jail.
"Owners of premises who failed to put up no-smoking signs at prohibited areas will also be fined not more than 3,000 ringgit (789 US dollars) or be jailed not more than six months," Chua added.
Some 25 percent of Malaysians above 18 years old are smokers. Between 10 percent and 12 percent of the cause of deaths in Malaysia in the last two decades are due to smoking, according to the official statistics.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"