KUALA LUMPUR: The public has been urged to voice out their rights to have a smoke-free environment by reprimanding the smokers politely.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the move would help the government create a healthy community and a harmonious environment.

“In Malaysia, about 80% of the population are non-smokers but they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

“So the voices of those from this group is important because they can help reduce the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, which has caused an estimated 20,000 deaths a year,” he said after launching the ‘Speak Out: Express Your Right’ campaign at KL Sentral today. The campaign will run for five years.

Dzulkefly also called on the people to cultivate the culture of reprimanding smokers in a polite and respectful manner, so the right message goes across and accepted by smokers.

As of yesterday, a total of 2,617 compound notices have been issued at 35,979 eateries inspected since the smoking ban was enforced on Jan 1.

Of the total, 1,911 notices were issued for smoking offences, 466 for premises that failed to display the no-smoking sign, 104 for premises that provided smoking facilities to their patrons and 136 for underage persons caught smoking or possessing the substance. — Bernama