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Should The Ban On Smoking In Bars Be Delayed?

Dec 02 2008 – SCMP

On November 24 the government stated sensibly on the RTHK website that it would not consider extending the qualified establishment smoking exemption status of licensed premises from July 1, next year.

The letter from Lillian Chan of the Entertainment Business Rights Concern Group, however (Talkback, November 28), asks the government to delay the exemptions further, until 2012.

Anti-smoking legislation is intended to protect the lives of the staff working in those premises, which this so-called rights group chooses to ignore in the quest for profits.

The government data shows restaurant takings after the smoking ban increased by 31 per cent in the third quarter of this year versus the third quarter of pre-ban 2006. The concern group should realise the ban is good for its business and that it already has a legal obligation under the occupational safety laws to keep its workplaces safe and free from dangers to the health of its workers.

This flagrant attempt to abuse workers’ rights is typical and akin to the Liberal Party’s disregard for the health of workers in the catering industry when it demanded the smoking exemption in the first place in return for allowing the diluted law to pass (after delaying it for six years).

World experts state that no known ventilation system can remove the toxins of cigarette smoke from the air in a room, and internal documents show that the tobacco companies know this fact.

The government has already stated that it will not allow smoking rooms in hospitality premises.

It commissioned a study on smoking rooms last year supposedly to find places other than the street for people to smoke; in so doing and at taxpayers’ expense, it is in effect working on behalf of the tobacco industry to find ventilation solutions that do not exist.

James Middleton, chairman, anti-tobacco committee, Clear the Air

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