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WNTD does not apply in HK licensed premises Owners have no onus on them to enforce the law This MUST change

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Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

Online Comment: dynamco Jun 4th 2013 12:10am

Macau has 75 inspectors for 576,000 population. HK has 99 spread over two shifts for 7 million population plus 133,000 visitors per day mostly from the Mainland (60% of male Mainlanders smoke) How many tourists got a ticket ? they have 21 days to pay ! the average tourist stay is less than 5 days. They last increased tobacco tax 3 years ago. A pack of Marlboro in Brisbane is HKD 139 HKD 80 in London HKD 85 in Norway, HKD 76 in Singapore and just HKD 50 here. So kids will keep on smoking as it remains affordable.
Ko Wing Man should hang his head in shame.
Liquor licenses compel landlords not to serve drunken people and
‘7. The licensee shall not permit any person to occupy or use any portion of the premises for any immoral or illegal purpose.’
which part of ‘illegal’ is not clear ?

Hong Kong’s smokers still lighting up in bars

Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am

News› Hong Kong


John Carney

Fear of fines is not enough to make cigarette fans stub out their habit, and many bars turn a blind eye to the practice to keep customers happy

You would have thought that having a smoking ban in Hong Kong would mean that World No Tobacco Day would be a big success. But yesterday, people were still happily puffing away in bars.

In 2007, the city implemented a smoking ban that applied to all indoor public places to rid the city’s bars and restaurants of cigarette smoke. Meanwhile, yesterday’s World No Tobacco Day was intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption across the globe. Each year. tobacco use leads to 5.4 million deaths worldwide.

But neither the legislation nor the occasion had any effect on many of the city’s bars, whose owners blatantly ignored the ban.

Smoking legislation in Hong Kong, unlike jurisdictions elsewhere in the world, punishes smokers, not bars, for breaches. Rather than having bar-owners face the loss of their licences for failing to stop patrons from smoking, it is the individual smoker who faces prosecution. This means many bars are allowing smoking to continue.

The ban was first imposed at the start of 2007 for statutory no-smoking areas. A blanket ban on smoking in all indoor public places was introduced on July 1, 2009.

“We follow up all complaints about smoking offences received and arrange inspection to the concerned premises,” a Tobacco Control Office spokesman said.

But bars in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay were letting customers and staff smoke freely yesterday. One owner of a TST bar was happy to let people smoke because he was not breaking the law.

“I only tell my customers that if they are caught smoking they could be fined. But by law we are doing nothing wrong. If I told my customers they couldn’t smoke, we would have to close. No one would come here,” he said.

A Causeway Bay bar owner said it was part of Chinese culture to smoke.

“No one is going to complain about smoking in here. Everyone does it,” he said.

Some bars in popular areas flout the smoking ban. In places such as Central and Wan Chai, smokers stand outside premises, but even inside these places people are lighting up because the owners are happy to turn a blind eye. This often happens in establishments above ground level.

Instead of going down to the street, customers are allowed to smoke in corridors or out of windows to save the hassle of going outside.

The Tobacco Control Office spokesman said in 2012, 600 inspections were conducted in bars and 242 fixed-penalty notices and summonses were issued to offenders. The office has 99 tobacco control inspectors to enforce the smoking ban. People caught smoking must pay a HK$1,500 fine within 21 days.


World No Tobacco Day

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 4th 2013, 12:18am):

Smoking: the government’s cowardly surrender to the tobacco lobby

It has been a big week for tobacco. The success of Ukip, a party keen to repeal the ban on smoking in pubs, has given cigarette companies an influential ally, one that has being doing sterling work seeking EU subsidies for tobacco growers.

Then came the momentous decision to drop plans that would have forced cigarette companies to sell their products in plain packs, something that even the powerful tobacco lobby must have thought out of its reach a few months ago.

But a relentless lobbying campaign that saw the industry channel money to spurious front groups to attack the plan has paid dividends. Stitching together a coalition that included newsagents, ex-police chiefs, retailers and brand organisations, not to mention hundreds of thousands of the public who signed a petition, the lobby strived to show the plan was unwanted and unworkable. Dire warnings were made of small shops going to the wall and thousands of jobs going abroad. The Treasury was warned that plain packs would be easy to copy, providing a major fillip to the counterfeit (untaxed) cigarette manufacturers.

Similar arguments were made in Australia by a big tobacco-funded campaign masterminded by a lobbying firm run by David Cameron’s election guru, Lynton Crosby. But Australia’s government introduced plain packaging last December. So far, there is no evidence that the dire predictions made by the tobacco lobby have been realised.

The tobacco industry argues that there is no evidence that plain packs discourage young people from starting to smoke. But inspection of tobacco industry documents released as a result of lawsuits reveals that the industry has been preparing for the battle for at least a quarter of a century. It will deny it, but the tobacco industry understands how brands lure in young smokers. It needs this new generation to replace the older one that it is killing. The UK government has a mandate to improve the health of its citizens. Last week, it failed them.

Germany’s most populous state toughens ban on smoking in bars

By Associated Press, Friday, November 30, 1:21 AM

BERLIN — Germany’s most populous state is toughening a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, closing loopholes in its five-year-old restrictions.

North Rhine-Westphalia, a western region of about 18 million people that includes Cologne, Bonn, Duesseldorf and the Ruhr industrial area, introduced its smoking ban in 2008 — around the same time other German states put similar restrictions into effect.

The state legislature on Thursday approved a toughened version to take effect next May. It shuts loopholes that allowed customers to light up in establishments that designated themselves smoking bars, in special rooms set aside for smokers or in beer tents, among other things. The center-left state government said the original ban had so many loopholes it didn’t effectively protect nonsmokers.

In future, exceptions will be allowed only for private parties.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© The Washington Post Company

‘Prosecute bars for smoking breach’

Bar managers should be liable for prosecution if people are caught smoking inside their premises, according to the chairwoman of the Council on Smoking and Health, Lisa Lau.

Ms Lau made the call on the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the first anti-smoking legislation in Hong Kong.

Since 2007, most public places have been covered. But at the moment, only smokers themselves can be prosecuted.

Ms Lau said this makes it difficult for staff from the Tobacco Control Office – the TCO – to implement the law.

She suggested amending the law to make bar managers liable for prosecution if people light up in their premises.

Ms Lau said if those managing their venues could help stop indoor smoking it could ease the pressure on the Tobacco Control Office.

Stub them out

Mary Ann Benitez

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bar and restaurant managers should be prosecuted if people are caught smoking in their premises.

That’s the latest stub-’em-out warning from the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health.

“If they are liable, it would make the job of enforcing the law by the government much easier,” COSH chairwoman Lisa Lau Man-man said.

“If you have to call the Tobacco Control Office, before they could come to give people the ticket, the smoker might be gone already.”

The fixed penalty for smoking in a no-smoking area is HK$1,500.

Lau urged the change yesterday on the fringes of a reception to mark the 30th anniversary of the first anti-smoking legislation in Hong Kong in 1982.

The Tobacco Control Office, which has only 146 officers to enforce the smoking ban, issued a total of 5,286 fixed-penalty notices from January to August this year. Last year, a total of 7,637 were issued.

However, prosecuting managers is opposed by industry stalwarts.

Allan Zeman, chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Association, said: “I don’t think it’s fair to prosecute a bar manager who’s there to do his job and make sure the bar and restaurant are functioning properly.”

A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said views of the public as well as COSH “would be taken into account when the government considers further initiatives to control smoking.”

Meanwhile, World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, in Hong Kong as a guest at the anti-smoking law reception, told Secret

ary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man that he has much more to do on tobacco control, even if Hong Kong has an 11.1 percent smoking rate, among the lowest in the world.

Chan said she discussed with Koand Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying the need for plain packaging and Australia’s victory in its case against a lawsuit filed by the “despicable” tobacco companies.

“The highest court in Australia ruled that the government’s action is correct,” she said. “And that is a very important win for public health.

“Norway was also taken to court by the tobacco industry. Norway again won that court case, and two wins in succession is good news for public health because it is the right thing to do to protect women, children and men’s health.”


She said the tobacco industry tries every means to target young women and children, especially to entice them to buy tobacco products.

“Every government, including Hong Kong, should take every precaution to protect their people,” Chan said.

If governments do not take effective action, there will be more than 8 million deaths every year by 2030 – up from 6 million now.

Leung told the reception smoking- related treatment and other services cost the government HK$53 billion a year.

Ko said: “As the chief executive pledged, we will continue our initiative to drive all other measures to ensure that Hong Kong will become a smoke-free society.”

Huang Jiefu, vice minister of the ministry of health, said tobacco control has become “a prominent social issue and related legislation has gradually been established.”

China has more than 300 million smokers, while 740 million are threatened by second-hand smoke.

No Onus = No Result = No Action = Keep on smoking, legally with renewed blessings


HK licensed premises’ Laws need to change , as do the personnel on the Liquor Licensing blinkered Board

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:44
Subject: Public complaint of smoking in Hart Avenue bars

Dear CTA,

Thank you for your e-mail dated on 28th Nov 2011 regarding the smoking

problem at the Hair of the Dog & Road Side Bar, two bars of Hart

Avenue, TST.

You may wish to know that our Tobacco Control Inspectors arranged anti-

smoking operations at the aforesaid premises on 2 December 2011. During

inspections, 2 offenses were found at the said premises. Our inspectors

also reminded the venue manager to take responsibility of statutory no

smoking areas and assist in the enforcement of the Smoking (Public

Health) Ordinance (Cap. 371).

Thank you very much again for your support on the tobacco control

issue. Should you have any inquiry, please feel free to contact Tobacco

Control Inspector, Vicky FUNG at  3748 3225.

Yours sincerely,

(Vicky FUNG)

for Director of Health

OUR REF.:C-11-21798


Download PDF : Notice of Decision_The Hair of the Dog

Police turn blind eye to bar smokers

Clear the Air says:

This is the job of the Tobacco Control Office who carry the Fixed Penalty Notices; the police will only act in cases of breach of the peace or during a liquor licence check.

Sadly the last Tsang administration allocated only 106 Tobacco Control officers to operate in two shifts per day for the whole of HKI, Kowloon, NT and Islands to ’control’ 680,000 smokers and 36 million Mainland visitors where the males have a smoking rate of 63% . From the 106 officers, take away leave days , holidays and sickness and the result is – they cannot patrol, hence no prevention. Meanwhile there is no legal onus on bar licensees to enforce the law as there is overseas – in fact many bar owners encourage smoking so as to steal business from other bars and hotels that rightly prevent smoking and protect their staff and customers.

TCO can only operate on complaints, several days later which is less than ideal. There is no prevention capability. The number of tickets issued in bars is minimal, the majority being in game centres and outside the Hunghom railway station.

Macau has 77 TCO’s including auxiliaries for 514,000 population whilst HKG has only 106 TCO’s for 7.2 million and the smokers amongst 40 million tourists ( all of the tourists walk free from a ticket given the payment time allowed).

Making premises’ managers legally responsible for enforcing the law within the whole area of their licensed premises (or lose their licence to operate) would add perhaps 15,000 additional enforcement individuals to the Tobacco Control Office.  These laws are made to protect workers in the workplace and are being openly flouted with little chance of being caught.

SCMP Letters Jul 05, 2012

Police turn blind eye to bar smokers

My son is visiting Hong Kong from Colombia where he normally lives.

He was born here and still has a number of friends living in the city. On Saturday night, he went with some of those friends to Lan Kwai Fong, spending the evening in a few bars.

He has told me that he may not go there again because of the large number of people smoking in the bars.

It is an obnoxious habit, which research shows shortens people’s lives.

It also often affects in a negative manner the health of those who are unfortunate enough to be close to those smoking, especially bar staff, and it is against the law to smoke in bars and restaurants in Hong Kong.

My son was astonished and not a little upset to find out that the law is being flouted so openly.

In Colombia, a country which has a negative reputation regarding law and order, there is a similar law and it is, apparently, strictly adhered to. In Hong Kong, the police appear to have little interest in enforcing it.

If this is the case, and the evidence appears to concur with this opinion, then the police need to be brought to task.

May I suggest that people who are concerned about this issue contact the Office of the Ombudsman ( 2882-8149) to complain about the police wasting taxpayers’ money through not enforcing the relevant law?

Chris Stubbs, Discovery Bay

Law should not punish landlords for illegal smoking in bars

SCMP letter from a part owner of the Railway tavern (smoking bar) in Tai Wai He ‘forgets’ the licensee should be on the premises when open

Jun 27, 2012

Allan Dyer’s suggestion that bar owners should be held responsible for illegal smoking in their premises is too extreme and would be totally unjust (“Smoking bans are not enforced”, June 20).

Provided that a bar licensee and staff have advised customers that it is against the law to smoke inside their premises, they have adequately fulfilled both their legal and social obligations.

Just as Mr Dyer admits in his letter, determined smokers often turn abusive and violent when challenged for ignoring this ban.

Bar workers are neither policemen nor tobacco control officers.

It is unfair to suggest that these lower-paid employees should also take on the role of law enforcers.

Likewise, it is unjust for the licensee to be held accountable for breaches of this law within his premises, provided he has not actively encouraged this misbehaviour.

He cannot be in attendance 24/7. It would be far too extreme to threaten a bar owner with the loss of his investment, probable bankruptcy of his business and the consequential termination of employees’ contracts because some third party has chosen to break the law.

What precisely is Mr Dyer expecting a barman to do when confronted by a customer who purchases a drink and then just lights up, ignoring the signs and advice that smoking in the premises is illegal? Is he supposed to leave the bar service area unattended, ignore his other duties and involve himself in a possible fight with the offender? And why pick only on small-business bar owners Mr Dyer? That’s another injustice in itself.

Why not take your suggestion to its logical conclusion and make the directors of major property companies responsible for the illegal smoking which goes on in the toilets of their malls and office blocks?

Next, Mr Dyer could have the directors of public and private hospitals struck off the Medical Council of Hong Kong’s doctors’ list because patients have been found smoking in fire exit staircases.

This is only a start. I could provide far more potential injustices if he persists.

No, Mr Dyer, illegal smoking is a criminal offence and dealing with it is the duty of policemen and other relevant law enforcement officers in accordance with priorities.

P. A. Crush, Sha Tin

Bars that ban smoking will do well

SCMP Letters

The Dickens Bar of the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay has strictly enforced the no-smoking ban from day one without apparently losing customers.

They are happy to go there to watch a soccer game and have a beer, knowing they cannot light up, because they are in a well-run bar. They will come even though the prices are not cheap.

Contrast that with a bar I visited in Sheung Shui about nine months ago to watch a match. Locals looked at me initially as if I was a spy, then lost their inhibitions and started smoking.

When you are in a bar like that, it makes you wonder what other laws are being broken; perhaps, for example, the sale of drugs or counterfeit goods.

Don’t these publicans realise they are shooting themselves in the foot? They should pay a visit to the Dickens and copy its entrepreneurial strategy.

Because it is so well run and sticks to the law, in business terms it will do well in the long run. As I said, non-smokers are happy to pay the relatively high prices so they can enjoy a few quiet hours in a clean and tidy environment.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

Letters to Editor

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong May 22, 2012

Simple way to curb law breakers

I refer to the letter by Leigh-Anne Wong (“Bar staff have ashtrays for smokers”, May 17).

The solution to the ongoing lack of compliance of smoking in bars is surprisingly simple. Place the legal onus on the owner/manager, not on the individual smoker.

As the legislation stands, bar owners have no interest in making sure their premises are smoke-free, and some even plant look-outs to alert the establishment if tobacco control officers are seen nearby, so they could warn their customers to put out their cigarettes. But if owners feared losing their licence, the law would become enforced overnight.

Current enforcement of smoke-free restaurants and bars is particularly difficult. Legco could change this at the stroke of a pen.

Dr Judith Mackay, senior adviser, World Lung Foundation

Prof .   J u d i t h   L o n g s t a f f   M a c k a y , O B E , S B S , J P

MBChB, FRCP (Edin), FRCP (Lon)

Senior Advisor

t:  +852.2719.1995 f:  +852.2719.5741

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Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR