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May 24th, 2009:

2,000 March in Hong Kong Protest Against Smoking Ban in Bars – 24 May 2009

Hong Kong – Around 2,000 people took part in a protest march in Hong Kong Sunday calling for a blanket ban on smoking in bars and restaurants to be postponed. The protesters, mostly bar owners and employees, said they wanted the ban to be delayed for two years to allow the entertainment industry to cope with the effects of the economic crisis.

From July, smoking will be banned in all bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges and sauna parlours and operators claim the ban may force half the city’s entertainment premises out of business.

A smoking ban first came into effect for bars and restaurants in Hong Kong on January 1, 2007, but hundreds of bars along with nightclubs and karaoke lounges were exempted until July 2009.

The city’s powerful entertainment industry lobby now wants a further delay, saying the timing of the ban will be devastating combined with the economic crisis and the current swine flu scare.

Anti-smoking campaigners have accused the city’s government of paying too much attention to the industry lobby and putting its interests ahead of concern over public health.

Less than one in five adults smoke in Hong Kong, a wealthy city of 7 million which has a low smoking rate compared to other countries and territories in the region.

World No Tobacco Day — May 31, 2009

Source: – May 22, 2009

Tobacco use is one of the major preventable causes of premature death and disease in the world (1). The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes approximately 5.4 million deaths per year to tobacco use (or one in 10 deaths among adults worldwide), a number expected to exceed 8 million per year by 2030 (2).

Evidence-based tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained, and support nonsmoking behaviors have been shown to prevent and reduce tobacco use (3). Such programs combine educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies to establish smoke-free policies and social norms, to promote and assist tobacco users to quit, and to prevent initiation of tobacco use. Strategies include increasing the unit price of tobacco products and implementing smoking bans through policies, regulations, and laws; providing insurance coverage of tobacco use treatment; and limiting minors’ access to tobacco products.

As part of a comprehensive tobacco control program, prominent tobacco health warnings that appear on packs of cigarettes have been proven to motivate users to quit and to reduce the appeal of tobacco for those who are not yet addicted (4). WHO’s theme for World No Tobacco Day, which will take place on May 31, 2009, is Tobacco Health Warnings. Additional information on World No Tobacco Day 2009 is available at


  1. Jha P, Chaloupka FJ. Tobacco control in developing countries. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 2000.
  2. World Health Organization. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2008–the MPower package. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2008. Available at
  3. CDC. Best practices for comprehensive tobacco control programs—2007. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Humans Services, CDC; 2007. Available at
  4. World Health Organization. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2005. Available at

History of Tobacco

Copyright 1993-2007 Gene Borio