Danger Zone at Night Spot

Workers and patrons at food and entertainment outlets,which allowed smoking are more exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco, according to a survey by Universiti Sains Malaysia.

They are exposed to the harmful effects of carcinogen and toxin as the air pollution there is 91% higher than in outlets, which prohibits smoking.

USM National Poison Centre re-searcher Dr Foong Kin said the smoke could cause dizziness, sore throat, watery eyes and coughing.

She said the study was conducted in 50 venues in Penang and 103 in Kuala Lumpur, involving bars, discos, cafes, hotels, fast-food outlets, snooker centres, restaurants, Internet cafes and video arcades between February and November last year.

She said a TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor, costing about RM17,000, was used to record the levels of respirable suspended particles (RSP) in the venues involved in the study.

Dr Foong said the study was aimed at showing that workers and patrons in smoking venues were exposed to harmful levels of carcinogen and toxin.

“For a start, we appeal to the Government to implement smoke-free zones for all air-conditioned public areas and workplace.

“Such a move has already been implemented in England, Scotland and Ireland,” she said in an interview.

Currently, the country prohibits smoking in governmental offices, health and education facilities, public transport and shopping malls.

Restaurants are permitted to have a designated smoking area within the premises while there are no smoking restrictions in bars, discos and nightclubs.

Dr Foong said it did not make much difference whether restau-rants had designated smoking areas.

“The partition around that area is so low that the smoke from there travels easily to the non-smoking section,” she said.

Dr Foong said she was currently conducting a study on the im- pact of passive smoking on those working in places, which allowed smoking.

“We are targeting more than 100 workers from 50 places, in-cluding pubs and bars in Penang,” she said.

The study, which started in September, was expected to finish by December, she said.