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Should The Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

Jan 14, 2009 – SCMP

I refer to the letter by P.A. Crush (Talkback, January 10).

Your correspondent said: “Smokers are not `compelled’ by their addiction to continue smoking as Clear the Air suggests.”

Why is it then that so many people try to quit, but cannot. Throwing in a recent statistic, why is it that a smoker needs to try to give up smoking 10 times before managing to quit? Smoking is clearly an addiction, much like crack cocaine, which has in fact been said to be easier to give up than smoking.

In terms of your correspondent’s reference to polluting vehicles on the road, most private vehicles do not run on diesel fuel and therefore do not spew out particulate matter (PM-2.5), which can travel directly into our lungs when we breathe, much like tobacco smoke or the smoke that escapes from coal-fired power plants.

This pollution from buses and goods trucks is therefore the most harmful to public health and should be targeted first, before private vehicles, especially given the high number of buses concentrated around the most (roadside) polluted areas.

Besides that, Hong Kong has become the dumping ground for vehicles from Japan, South Korea and elsewhere due to the fact that the Hong Kong government has not enforced any emission standards on diesel vehicles, of which many have exceeded their normal operating lifespan.

Rather than offering a subsidy to convert or replace the 49,161 pre-Euro and 25,206 Euro I diesel vehicles (which will create 74 per cent and 38 per cent less vehicle emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxides) to stricter emission standards, the government should set a deadline for these to be implemented and, if they are not, fines or emission taxes should be promptly put in place.

Michael Pieper, Discovery Bay

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