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Should The Smoking Ban Be Extended Further?

Dec 30, 2008 – SCMP

The current law must be extended to work vehicles. Buses and taxis are already smoke-free, as are government vehicles. Work vehicles are mobile workplaces, and the enclosed cabins create an intense toxic atmosphere with tobacco smoke.

Smoking in private cars with children under 18 present should be outlawed immediately. Some countries already have such a law. There is no right to smoke in the Basic Law.

In many locations it is an offence to smoke within 10 metres of a building; bar and restaurant entrances and exits in Hong Kong should be made to follow suit.

Smoking should be banned in all outdoor areas, or patios of bars and restaurants, or other food premises.

The government should follow recommendations made in other countries and demand tobacco products be sold only by licensed retailers under the counter and not displayed, and that the packaging should be plain and bland-coloured to prevent flashy styling attracting young smokers.

In the next budget, the tobacco tax must be at least doubled from its current HK$16 a pack. This is the best way to prevent youths from taking up smoking and to stop current smokers continuing their addiction. Imposing increased taxation is also mandatory under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty, ratified by China in October 2005.

Less than 12 per cent of Hongkongers are daily smokers, and smokers should not be permitted to inconvenience and harm the majority that does not smoke.

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

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