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24 Jun 2009

CUEPACS TOLD TO REMEMBER NON-SMOKERS

NST
24/6/2009




KUALA LUMPUR: Cuepacs is ignoring the rights of non-smokers when it opposed the Public Service Department's stand on no-smoking at government departments and agencies.
Prof Dr Rahmat Awang of Universiti Sains Malaysia's National Poison Centre and Malaysian Trades Union Congress adviser on indoor air quality Dr T. Jayabalan said Cuepacs must be seen to serve the rights of non-smokers as much as it wanted to protect the rights of smokers.They said it had been proven that ventilation systems could not filter the particles and gases in tobacco smoke to safe levels.They said tobacco smoke contained more than 4,000 chemicals, including more than 200 that were poisonous, and at least 69 that were carcinogenic. They were responding Cuepacs' call to PSD not to impose a blanket ban on smoking in government premises but to provide smokers with designated smoking areas.
It was reported in a local daily recently that the PSD would monitor the no-smoking rule at government premises. The PSD had also said government servants were prohibited from smoking in government premises. Dr Rahmat said the notion that designated smoking areas was a responsible alternative to a smoking ban was flawed.Dr Rahmat and Dr Jayabalan said it was not advisable to have designated smoking areas because:- smoking sections without floor-to-ceiling partitions between the non-smoking section and smoking section do not prevent exposure to second-hand smoke;- designated rooms pose a threat to those who have to clean and work in them; and - smoke escapes through the open door when people enter or leave the smoking room.International Labour Organisation estimates showed that 200,000 workers were killed each year by exposure to second-hand smoke at work. In a survey carried out in Malaysia, they said, it was found that 61.3 per cent of adult smokers had wanted to quit but found it difficult.They said enforcing eight hours of non-smoking would be a step in the right direction to kick the habit."It must be remembered that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and scientists have concluded that the only effective protection is 100 per cent smoke-free places."

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