Pagodas ruled no-smoking

    Myanmar’s Public Health Foundation chairperson, Dr. Than Sein, has said that three pagodas in Mandalay will be declared no-tobacco-smoking zones to protect visitors, according to a story in The Myanmar Times.

    He was speaking last week at a workshop on establishing smoke-free areas.

    “Women and children are among the visitors to the pagodas,” he said. “Pregnant women and parents are also among them and thus we plan to ban it. We plan to make those areas free from cigarette smoke.”

    The three pagodas are the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, which is a tourist attraction site, the Maha Lawka Marrazein Pagoda, where world-heritage-listed stone inscriptions are located, and the Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda.

    Pagoda trustee secretary U Kyaw Kyaw Oo said that signboards would be put up stating ‘gain merit by not smoking or chewing betel quid’.

    “If that method fails, we will start imposing fines,” he said. “Details will be discussed with leading monks.”

    The secretary said that no-smoking areas had been declared in the past, but that enforcement had been weak.

    Than Sein said that in time and in co-operation with the other trustees of the board, the no smoking zone would apply to other pagodas.