GEORGE TOWN: About 60% of the 359 underage people caught smoking over the past 11 months in Penang were girls.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environmental Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the figure was alarming.
“We have to ensure that juveniles are not exposed to smoking,” he said.
Phee warned that those who offer or sell cigarettes to underage children are liable to a minimum RM10,000 compound.
“The local councils also have the right to withdraw their operating licence,” he added in an interview.
As for those smoking in prohibited areas, Phee said they would be asked to give their particulars which would go into a database.
“Those caught smoking are liable to a RM500 compound,” he said.
Phee said he had also appealed to the Health Ministry and discussed with the National Poison Centre in Universiti Sains Malaysia to monitor the air quality in enclosed areas such as shopping malls and restaurants.
“The university, with the assistance of the local council, can conduct an air quality study in shopping complexes and other enclosed areas and display the reading in a prominent place.
“The public can then decide if they want to enter the premises.
“We have to respect the rights of smokers but non-smokers have a right to clean air,” he said.