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Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

Jan 01, 2009 – SCMP

I fully agree with the letters from K. Stanton and Markus Shaw (Talkback, December 29) regarding their views on the smoking ban and, in particular, K. Stanton’s views on Anthony Hedley (Talkback, December 18), Judith Mackay (Talkback, December 11), Annelise Connell (Talkback, December 17) and the Clear the Air lobby.

What has happened to the rights of people and their personal choice?

There is nothing wrong with a bar or a restaurant allowing people to smoke inside.

It is the choice of the customer whether or not to patronise that bar. Forget smoking rooms; a restaurant should either permit smoking or not.

It is then the choice of the employee whether or not to work in that bar or restaurant and the choice of the customer to go where he pleases.

What is wrong with a free market economy?

The many studies issued or quoted by the aforementioned people do not categorically prove many of their claims.

The tax from tobacco is still a major revenue earner for the Hong Kong government and I believe more than covers the cost to the government of smoking-related illnesses. If these people, with their own personal agendas, wish to pursue their desire to save money and to stop people dying, then I suggest that they start a new zealous pursuit of banning alcohol.

Alcohol causes far more problems to citizens than smoking – for example, drink-driving and alcoholism. The cost to society and, ultimately, the taxpayer is far more than smoking.

These correspondents should get off their high horses and either stop their complaints about smoking, or start now to call for a complete ban on alcohol in Hong Kong. If they can successfully ban the sale of alcohol in the city, I will stop smoking.

Andy Boulton, Aberdeen

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