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December 27th, 2008:

Should The Full Ban On Smoking Be Delayed?

SCMP – Updated on Dec 27, 2008

I refer to the letter by Deepak Nagrani (Talkback, December 22).

He claims that people are smoking more because of all the restrictions imposed by the government. Judging by official statistics and from my own observations, I would have to disagree.

In fact, I know many people who are smoking less because it is not convenient for them to light up when and where they like. These smokers actually welcome the restrictions because they know that they are doing themselves less harm.

Mr Nagrani’s opinions are selfish and he has not made a single practical alternative to the restrictions put forward by the government.

He describes an office, a bar and a restaurant as more controlled environments. For whom is it more controlled? Does he think it is more restrictive for restaurant and bar staff and the public to be at the mercy of smokers?

On the other hand, while introducing tobacco controls, the government has, at the same time, openly offered support to help smokers quit.

He wonders if the smoking rooms at the airport are the government’s idea of a silent death sentence.

Well, those who choose to contribute to the “gas chamber” environment in the first place have to deal with it.

Moreover, just to put things into perspective, I would like to ask how long Mr Nagrani actually spends in the smoking rooms at the airport, even if he travels a lot. It would be considerably less than the time a non-smoker has to endure during a meal at locations where smoking is still allowed.

I would like to remind Mr Nagrani that smoking itself is a slow “death sentence” so why take along the non-smokers?

Where cigarettes are for sale, it is up to consumers to use them responsibly.

Laws are put in place to protect the “positive” beneficial interests of the public, be they the majority or minority.

H. Harania, Mid-Levels

Should Smoking Rooms Be Allowed?

SCMP – Updated on Dec 27, 2008

I do not support the idea of setting up smoking rooms.

For those who think we should be slightly lenient to smokers in Hong Kong, please take a look at our “new” eating environment.

It is now so common to see people eat and hold cigarettes outside cha chaan tengs [tea cafes] which prohibit indoor smoking. When we walk past, it is difficult to breathe. Smoking rooms will only lead to a deterioration of the already bad air quality.

Without a proper ventilation system, things will only get worse and it is the non-smokers who are made to suffer.

Even if the ventilation system is so well designed that no smoke can escape, these rooms would be very tempting to ex-smokers or to those who are trying to quit this vice. It is likely that the number of smokers would rise again as a result of this hasty decision by the government.

Though many countries, including Germany and Italy, allow smoking rooms, Hong Kong, with seriously suffocating air from vehicles and [the smoke from] Chinese restaurants, should not follow blindly. We have to consider our own situation wisely.

We must not be lured into granting something when it has already been decided that we should get rid of it.

Leung Yuen-lung, Sham Shui Po