Call to extend smoking ban to workplaces

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PUTRAJAYA (Jan 13): The health ministry is urged to consider extending the smoking ban to offices and enclosed areas including the toilets, at workplaces.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the matter, however, needed to be discussed thoroughly between the ministry and employers before being implemented.

He said the action of some smokers smoking in the office or workplace could affect the health of others.

“I myself had the experience of putting up with cigarette smoke in the toilets,” he shared and hoped that the ministry and employers could discuss on providing a special space at the workplace for smokers to satisfy their craving for cigarettes.

Lee was speaking to reporters after flagging off participants of the My Jantungku Run 2019 at the Water Sports Complex in Precinct 6, Putrajaya, today.

About 2,000 people took part in the five-kilometre run organised by the Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Practitioners Association. Also present was its president, Datuk Dr Kanagaraja Raman.

In conjunction with the run, Lee called on employers to hold an exercise programme for least 10 minutes each day at the workplace to encourage their employees to care for their health.

He said it was estimated that there were 40,000 new cases of heart disease in Malaysia each year, hence making it the number one killer in this country.

"We should follow the Japanese culture of doing light exercise before they start work,” he said, adding that health was an important asset for the people and country in driving the economy and increasing productivity.

Lee said employers and employees were encouraged to together shoulder the responsibility of caring for heart health and practising a healthy, cheerful lifestyle.