SMOKING: A STUDY BETWEEN PERSONAL FREEDOM AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Muzaffar Syah Mallow
Dr., Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM),
Bandar Baru Nilai, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus, Malaysia
Everybody has a clear right to breathe a clean air and to live in a healthy environment without having any pollution including pollution produce from cigarette smoking. It is a well – known fact that smoking a cigarette will not only pollute the air quality surround us but also could potentially danger anyone who had to consume the smoke generated from it. There have been many studies conducted by various prestige institutions in the world including the international body like the World Health Organization (WHO) on this matter. Sadly there are individual who argued smokers have right to smoke regardless constant education and awareness been given on the danger of smoking. It is the researcher humble view that between the right to excess to clean air and to have a good health and the right of smokers to smoke their cigarette, the former should be given top priority. There is no clear written right given to smoker either under the country highest law in the land namely the Federal Constitution or in any of the existing legislations over the right for them to smoke. In Malaysia, smoking is prohibited in specified public places and workplaces listed under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 of the Food Act 1983 [Act 281]. Starting January 1, 2019, Malaysia government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) has enforced a smoking ban at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide. The latest ban cover all air–conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open - air hawker centres and street stalls. Anybody who violates the rules will be charged accordingly under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 of the Food Act 1983 [Act 281]. The latest efforts taken by the government to deter smoking habit among its people has received huge criticism especially from the smokers themselves which consist millions of peoples. Some of the smokers even argued, the latest efforts taken by the government on the issue violated their basic right to smoke. Crucial to note, all the efforts taken on the matter by the government is in fact in line with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in which Malaysia is also one of the member party. As one of the member party to the WHO FCTC, the Malaysian government should continue its efforts to reduce the number of smoking habit among its people and find ways to protect its citizen who want to live in a better and healthier environment free from cigarette and the pollution its generates. It will be the object of this paper to examine further the issue of smoking, the dangers it carry, examine the philosophical argument over the issue on the right to smoke, and come out with possible recommendations in order to bring down the number of addiction on smoking and prevent the smoking habit in the country.
Keywords: Smoking, Right, Health
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