Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Letters to the Editor


Source: South China Morning Post

Below are some letters to the editor printed on the South China Morning Post:

Honest businesses are losing out over ban
Updated on Mar 14, 2010

I refer to the report (“Bars ignoring smoking ban taking our business, other pubs complain”, February 28).

Our restaurant fully complied and extended our no-smoking policy to cover our licensed outdoor seating area, a decision we may need to reverse if we are to stay competitive against unlicensed outlets.

Some entrepreneurs have come up with ways to not only beat the no-smoking ban, but to also deceive the licensing authority, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Licence conditions comprise a list, such as fire and building certification, water pollution control, the Employee Compensation Ordinance and the Mandatory Provident Fund.

There must be food-and-hygiene-appointed assistants and a licensee or a nominee must be on the premises at all times.

These are legally binding responsibilities and it costs money to meet all the conditions.

What is the point of all this costly legally binding certification if someone can open a provisions or clothing store, serve alcohol and evade the relevant department ordinance?

These outlets have no licensing obligations. Customers can smoke, create a noise nuisance and obstruct a public footpath.

Government departments and their agencies do nothing about these businesses, just make excuses. Licensed outlets are struggling because the government is failing to crack down on businesses which flout the regulations.

A. W. D. Ismail, Lantau

Western countries took right approach
Updated on Mar 07, 2010

I am a staunch anti-smoker from Canada, resident in Hong Kong for two years.

I completely agree with the bar owners who are being penalised by a government that is not maintaining a level playing field (“Bars ignoring smoking ban taking our business, other pubs complain”, February 28).

In most Western countries there never was a problem with enforcement as the onus for enforcement of no smoking was placed on the bar and restaurant owners.

If they ignored the ban and broke the law, they would receive a very hefty fine and also might lose their licence. Trust me, the owners never allow smoking on their premises and the smokers don’t even think about lighting up inside. It works, so what’s wrong with the government in Hong Kong? Why can’t they introduce laws with some teeth? The percentage of smokers in North America has steadily declined to only 15 per cent that still smoke.

The health costs alone from first and second-hand smoke are incalculable, yet China leads the way with the highest percentage of smokers in the world; not something to be proud of.

Tobacco products are too cheap and too accessible and introducing legislation to ban smoking, although laudable, means nothing if it is not enforced properly. The government could pass a law forbidding smoking in all public places that is enforceable by introducing penalties on the bar and restaurant owners who choose to ignore the law. The fact that the government has not passed an enforceable law says to me that they don’t want to. Why?

Angus Hay, Lantau

We must enforce law on no-smoking areas
Updated on Mar 14, 2010

When the smoking ban was extended there was a good response initially from affected businesses, for example, wet markets and bars.

However, now some irresponsible smokers are ignoring the law and lighting up in places where the ban is in place. In wet markets even the vendors flout the law.

The smoking ban should be enforced with all offending parties penalised including operators or owners of premises.

If need be, the government should recruit more tobacco control officers to enforce the ban.

The revenue generated by the fines will pay their salaries.

Failing that, the government could subcontract the work of making sure that the ban is adhered to.

Eric Kee, Mid-Levels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>