Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Smoking in Open Air Public Places

Clear the Air contends that under existing Hong Kong laws any person who smokes in any open air public place commits several possible offences in addition to the legal obligations of employers and the occupiers of premises under the Occupational Safety workplace legislation.

Under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance section 2, it is an offence to litter in public where “deposit”, in relation to litter or waste, includes to cast, throw, drop, discharge, scatter or blow such litter or waste; and “litter” includes: any dirt, dust, ashes, paper or refuse; any rubbish or debris; any other offensive, noxious or obnoxious matter; any substance likely to constitute a nuisance.
Smoking causes litter and ash falls to the ground and into the air as the cigarette burns. The smoke is lethal, offensive and obnoxious, and causes a nuisance to non-smokers in public places. Dropping butts causes litter and is an obvious offence.

Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance section 10, “nuisance” includes an obnoxious event set out in section 10(2)(h) that includes the deposit of dust or particles of any kind; an objectionable odour; irritation of the eye, nose or skin or any other sensory discomfort.
Cigarette smoke in public places is obnoxious to non-smokers, causes the deposit of dust or particles, an objectionable odour to non-smokers and scientifically proven studies show irritation of the nose , asthma attacks and sensory discomfort.

Under the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulations section 4, no person shall deposit or cause or permit to be deposited any litter or waste on or in any street or public place.
We have yet to see anybody holding a lit cigarette in a portable container to prevent the dust, ash and debris from being deposited in the air, street or public place.

Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance section 2, “air pollution” means an emission of air pollutants which either alone or with another emission of air pollutants is prejudicial to health; or is a nuisance.
The lethal dangers to health of tobacco smoke are documented and scientifically proven beyond contest , the smoke is a major nuisance and air pollutant and highly prejudicial to health of innocent persons nearby.

Under Chapter 132X Section 10 Food Business Regulations it states: ‘Every person engaged in any food business shall, while so engaged, take all such steps as may be reasonably necessary to protect the food from risk of contamination or deterioration, and in particular, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no person shall- (a) so place, or cause, suffer or permit any other person so to place, any open food as to involve any risk of contamination’
Allowing smoking in restaurants whether open air or otherwise will allow the highly toxic micron sized chemicals in cigarette smoke to contaminate any served open or loosely covered food.

A summary of a recent Stanford University study on Outdoor Tobacco Smoke is attached herewith for your study.
“Our results demonstrate that Outdoor Tobacco Smoke can be high during periods of smoking in locations where persons are near active smokers.
Therefore, it is possible for OTS to present a nuisance or hazard under certain conditions. Examples of scenarios where OTS levels might be high include eating dinner with a smoker on an outdoor patio, sitting at a table next to a smoker at a sidewalk cafe, sitting next to a smoker on a park bench, or standing near a smoker outside a building.

Children who accompany a smoking parent or guardian may experience substantial exposure.

Outdoor restaurant or pub workers who spend a significant portion of their time within a few feet of active smokers are also likely to receive relatively large total OTS exposures over the course of a day, possibly exceeding the EPA 24-hr health standard for fine particles.
If one is upwind from a smoker, levels most likely will be negligible. However, if the smoker’s position changes or one spends time downwind from a smoker, then moving to a distance of 2 m can reduce the likelihood of experiencing elevated particle exposure because of OTS. Future studies should measure OTS levels for dynamic situations with multiple smokers, including continuous measurements of personal OTS concentrations or biomarker levels for workers in outdoor locations.

Support for health-based OTS bans may lie in a potential acute effect on susceptible populations.
Short term OTS exposures might be life threatening for high risk persons, because the human cardiovascular system is very sensitive to secondhand smoke.(31)
A recent before-and-after smoking ban study showed a decreased chance of myocardial infarction when a ban was in place,(32 ) which suggests that there is an acute risk associated with SHS exposure for persons at increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease.(33)”

Real-Time Measurement of Outdoor Tobacco Smoke Particles
Neil E. Klepeis, Wayne R. Ott, and Paul Switzer
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

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>