Eateries aware but hesitant to warn customers not to smoke – Sibuti MP

Lukanisman Awang Sauni

MIRI: Most outlets on the outskirts of the city are aware of the national smoking ban which would eventually come into effect in Sarawak, but operators require a helping hand from the Ministry of Health to create awareness among their customers.

Many are still apprehensive about telling their loyal customers to stop lighting up for fear of losing business, and feel that the official educational enforcement campaign will go a long way in changing mindsets and attitudes among smokers.

Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni, who supports this move by the government,has been actively putting up ‘No Smoking’ signs in his parliamentary service centre in support of this new public health policy.

He conceded that most operators in his constituency had read about it on mainstream or social media but would need officers from the Ministry of Health to help implement this policy on the ground.

“For my constituency, most eateries are aware but from my observations yesterday, many shop owners have said that they are still hesitant to ask customers not to smoke in their coffee shops,” he told The Borneo Post.

The Sibuti MP said he fully supports the smoking ban in public as non-smokers will no longer be exposed to hazardous second hand cigarette smoke.

He encouraged smokers to obey the new rules.

Many countries such as Australia, Singapore and even neighbouring Thailand have taken steps to protect citizens from exposure to harmful secondary smoke with strict regulations on smoking in public areas.

Lukanisman dismissed claims that a ban on smoking in eateries would have an adverse effect on businesses, as many parents avoid restaurants that expose their children to cigarette smoke, he claimed.

Meanwhile, the Sibuti MP called on the government to be strict on enforcement of regulations prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to students.