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November 28th, 2008:

Should The Ban On Smoking In Bars Be Delayed?

Nov 28 2008 – SCMP

Besides bars, readers should not forget the three types of adult entertainment premises that were also given a 30-month deferment before the smoking ban takes effect in July next year.

The government’s intention behind granting such a deferment was to allow for sufficient time to study other solutions to a complete smoking ban in these outlets.

Two years have elapsed and finally the government tells us its feasibility study is ongoing and the results will not be ready until the first quarter of next year (“Smoking rooms being considered”, November 24). This will leave businesses virtually no time to turn around and adapt to the new legislation before the law takes effect in July.

In some countries, entertainment outlets enjoy exemptions from a smoking ban because of their unique business model and adult-only clientele.

We see no reason for the Hong Kong government to implement such a harsh regulation particularly at a time of economic turmoil and when firms will be hardest hit by the credit crunch in the coming 18 months.

The government must seriously consider possible solutions to a total ban, including exemptions and a further delay of the ban until 2012, or at least allow smoking rooms.

Lilian Chan, Entertainment Business Rights Concern Group