Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

June 11th, 2012:

Absurd smoking ban widely ignored

SCMO – Laisee

With the arrival of the hot weather and al fresco drinking and dining, the absurdity of the smoking laws is becoming increasingly obvious.

As we know, smoking is banned inside bars and restaurants, but the outside areas in some of these venues remain contentious.

If the area is covered only by a roof of some sort, typically a canvas canopy, then smoking is not banned. But if it is enclosed, say, at least 50 per cent of the total area on all sides, then smoking is prohibited.

The law is widely flouted. As anyone knows, there is not a great deal of difference between sitting inside or in the middle of an outside area under a canopy in which there can be anywhere from 20 to 50 people.

The law was designed to protect staff working at these establishments, but in its present cockeyed form, it doesn’t have much effect.

The Tobacco Control Office under the Department of Health takes several days to react to a complaint. The process is similar to that with the ineffective engine idling law.

That is why anti-smoking groups would like Hong Kong to make all public areas smoke-free, including outside areas where members of the public are served food and drinks, whether roofed or not.

They also want the landlords of these establishments to be responsible for banning smoking as they are in other parts of the world, such as Japan, Australia, the United States and Britain, among others. If one of them persists in allowing smoking, then he loses his liquor licence.

The present arrangements are akin to having a non-urinating section in a swimming pool