Smoking ban can develop a mindful culture

A smoking ban has been imposed on eateries and public places. FILE PIC

SMOKING on board a plane used to be normal decades ago. When people became more aware of health risks, airlines began to enforce a smoking ban.

In the United States, smoking was banned on domestic flights with a duration of two hours or fewer in 1988, with all domestic and international flights being smoke-free by 2000.

Malaysia, as of Jan 1, imposed a nationwide ban on smoking in eateries. Sabah and Sarawak have yet to impose the smoking ban, pending a decision by the state cabinet.

Sabah ministers are worried about the effects the ban would have on the tourism industry. Some are against the blanket ban, suggesting a place be designated for smokers.

Some quarters have said we should not become a “nanny state”, a conservative British term, which implies the government is trying to give too much advice or make too many laws about how people should live their lives, especially about smoking or drinking alcohol.

It means removing the personal responsibility of individuals for “the greater good”.

In fact, it is good because it develops a culture that is mindful of others.

Of course, it will take time to assess the impact of change. Even in countries that have implemented a similar move, it did not take long for all to fall in line. Few people broke the rules.


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