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July 14th, 2009:

Smoking ban may save lives


James Griffiths, who laments the extension of the ban on smoking to all Hong Kong’s bars, loses sight of two key points (“Smoking ban in bars will only cut much-needed spending”, July 10).

One is that non-smokers like to go to bars too, and they can be, and very often are, disturbed – indeed poisoned – by the smoke emitted by others.

The challenge, now that smoking inside bars will no longer occur, is to get the smokers away from the open fronts of restaurants and bars, lest they continue to disturb those inside with their toxic exhalations.

The other key point is that smoking eventually makes seriously ill, or kills, nearly half of those who indulge in the unhealthy habit. By forcing smokers to at least desist while inside a bar, these enhanced rules may be saving the life of the smoker.

These vital points far outweigh the inconvenience to smokers of no longer being allowed to smoke inside bars.

Hong Kong has taken the right step here and it is a step already taken by many other jurisdictions around the world.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels