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‘I want to quit one day… but not because of the ban

Amy Nip, Austin Chiu and Dan Kadison – SCMP

Smokers are banned from having a puff inside entertainment venues, but that has not been enough to make them quit the habit.

Smoker Michael Chow said lax implementation of the ban at bars had given him “an excuse” not to stop smoking.

Lighting up a cigarette in a Central bar after midnight, Mr Chow spoke of repeated attempts to quit smoking.

He said he returned to Hong Kong from Canada a few years ago, after that country imposed a smoking ban.

When Hong Kong announced its ban, he said, he felt it was the right time to quit.

“I still want to quit one day … but I would do it for my own benefit, not because of the smoking ban in bars.”

Man Cheung, who was also smoking inside a pub, said he was under the impression that staff at the Tobacco Control Office “did not dare go check pubs located upstairs”.

“I was in a bar in Causeway Bay last month when a few tobacco control officers arrived. But they did not go into the bar to check out whether there were people smoking. They simply handed out anti-smoking leaflets to the owner,” he said.

One patron at Delaney’s Irish pub, Mike Galvin, 46, who works in Shenzhen, said he had just found out about the ban this week and was not happy about it.

“All the ban is doing is putting … people out of work,” he said. “You’re destroying the tourist industry in Hong Kong. And you’re making people obviously unhappy. So what’s the point?”

In Tsim Sha Tsui, a female smoker was standing outside the Pelican Bay Beachside Bar, an Observatory Court watering hole close to Knutsford Terrace.

The 33-year-old insurance consultant, who would only identify herself as Wong, said she found it inconvenient to walk outside a bar to have a cigarette, but still did so.

Tobacco Control Office staff had been visiting establishments since June to promote the smoke-free message, an office spokesman said. They had distributed leaflets and stickers to managers and owners so they could help promote the cause.

“All qualified establishments, whether they are situated upstairs, on street level or in the basement, are visited,” he said.

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