Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

June 18th, 2012:

Introduce tobacco-free HK in phases

In a world of growing complexities, arguments and counter-arguments, one can debate about a person’s right to smoke in public. There is overwhelming evidence of health hazards – heart attack, stroke, cancer, just to name a few – associated with direct smoking as well as passive, or second-hand, smoking.

Despite these harmful effects, society must also balance the interests of smokers, non-smokers and the tobacco industry. Smokers have the right to smoke as long as this does not impose a health risk to people around them. Tobacco companies have a duty to highlight the harmful effects of their products.

It is possible for the government to implement such a policy, in stages, starting perhaps in the tourist districts, or in piecemeal fashion. Special zones will need to be made available for smokers, with suitable law reinforcement outside these zones to safeguard the rights and health of others. This ban will send a clear message to both smokers and non-smokers about their rights and responsibilities. Having a tobacco-free city will raise Hong Kong’s status internationally about our health values and commitment.

Dr Peter Wong Sze-chai, Kowloon