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Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

SCMP – Dec 29, 2008

As a non-smoker, I am getting fed up with Anthony Hedley, Judith Mackay, Annelise Connell and the Clear The Air lobby. I have worked in the bar and restaurant business for 25 years, I am not an owner and my lungs and chest are clear.

I am not saying that this is the same for everyone, as everybody’s genes are different, but this is now more like a witch-hunt against smokers.

Yes, smoking can be bad for your health, but why can there not be smoking and non-smoking bars? What has happened to people’s freedoms? Many countries are now looking at ways to help smokers have their own space to smoke in, as they should have. My mother is 80 and still smokes.

Professor Hedley says he is protecting the health of the staff. Does he not realise that most staff in bars smoke and will he find them new employment when some of these bars close down, as has happened since the smoking ban hit Britain?

Forget about statistics, I have many friends in the industry who have lost their businesses, so let’s work together and find a solution for smokers and non-smokers.

K. Stanton, Pok Fu Lam

To the anti-smoking lobby, I say: “Enough, already.”

Either campaign for an outright ban on smoking – make it illegal – or else stop this increasing harassment of an activity which gives pleasure to many. I am not a smoker, but I do enjoy the very occasional cigar and I don’t deny my guests the pleasure of an after-dinner smoke.

After years of bombardment with anti-smoking propaganda, everyone is aware of the risks of smoking. Despite this, many people still exercise their free choice to light up and engage in a perfectly legal activity. As for bars and restaurants, let people decide, not the nanny state. Non-smoking bars and restaurants will gain non-smoking customers. Smoking bars and restaurants will continue to get business from those – smokers or non-smokers – who don’t care. As for staff, they also have a choice. If smoke bothers them, they can work somewhere else.

Anti-smoking campaigners don’t seem to trust people to make up their minds. Seeing people still making a choice to smoke, they react like petulant autocrats.

Markus Shaw, Central

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