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December 16th, 2008:

Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

16 Dec 2008 – SCMP

It is quite common to see people smoking in Hong Kong.

When the government implemented the ban for indoor public places, smokers complained that they had nowhere to go now to smoke, except outside or in their own homes.

Even if they went somewhere for lunch, in many places they were not allowed to light up.

There have been differing opinions about whether or not the ban should be implemented.

However, I do not think the ban should be delayed and it should cover all premises.

The overriding reason is the health aspect. Some smokers say they light up because they are under a lot of pressure at work and it helps relieve some of the stress. However, they must be aware that they are harming themselves physically.

They should also appreciate they are being selfish when they light up in public and being inconsiderate to non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

They should realise that non-smokers are also at risk from the effects of second-hand smoke. Research has shown that people can contract cancer from second-hand smoke.

Non-smokers in a family where a family member smokes also face health problems.

It could lead to domestic disputes. If smokers contract health problems, the family will face a financial burden.

Smoking also affects the international image of Hong Kong. Tourism is crucial to the city’s economy.

However, our air-pollution problems are getting worse. I believe that smoking is a factor in this, especially with the number of people who smoke outdoors on our streets.

The smoking and the pollution can give many tourists a very bad impression of Hong Kong and they may decide not to return.

I think a full smoking ban should be implemented as soon as possible.

Li Chi, Tsuen Wan

Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

Dec 16, 2008 – SCMP

I am aware bar owners have said they want the full implementation of the smoking ban (with all exemptions ended) to be delayed. They have cited problems they are experiencing because of the economic downturn.

They either want the grace period they have enjoyed to be extended or to be allowed to put in smoking rooms.

I am not convinced that extending the grace period will necessarily be good for business.

If the economy is in bad shape and people are suffering financially, then they will avoid unnecessary expenditure such as drinking in bars and nightclubs, whether or not there is a smoking ban.

The full smoking ban must be implemented.

It is not just that smoking is bad for the health of people lighting up. It is also bad for people who are exposed to second-hand smoke in these premises.

Workers in these bars are also exposed to this smoke, and this cannot be good for their health.

We can longer ignore the side effects of smoking in bars and nightclubs.

If bars want to get more customers through their doors during the present financial crisis, then they should think about introducing discounts, such as buy three glasses of beer, get one free.

I admit we are facing tough times, but that is no reason to put people’s health at risk.

Delaying full implementation of the smoking ban is not going to solve our economic problems.

Ng Sze-Nga, Kwai Chung