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June 27th, 2012:

Law should not punish landlords for illegal smoking in bars

SCMP letter from a part owner of the Railway tavern (smoking bar) in Tai Wai He ‘forgets’ the licensee should be on the premises when open

Jun 27, 2012

Allan Dyer’s suggestion that bar owners should be held responsible for illegal smoking in their premises is too extreme and would be totally unjust (“Smoking bans are not enforced”, June 20).

Provided that a bar licensee and staff have advised customers that it is against the law to smoke inside their premises, they have adequately fulfilled both their legal and social obligations.

Just as Mr Dyer admits in his letter, determined smokers often turn abusive and violent when challenged for ignoring this ban.

Bar workers are neither policemen nor tobacco control officers.

It is unfair to suggest that these lower-paid employees should also take on the role of law enforcers.

Likewise, it is unjust for the licensee to be held accountable for breaches of this law within his premises, provided he has not actively encouraged this misbehaviour.

He cannot be in attendance 24/7. It would be far too extreme to threaten a bar owner with the loss of his investment, probable bankruptcy of his business and the consequential termination of employees’ contracts because some third party has chosen to break the law.

What precisely is Mr Dyer expecting a barman to do when confronted by a customer who purchases a drink and then just lights up, ignoring the signs and advice that smoking in the premises is illegal? Is he supposed to leave the bar service area unattended, ignore his other duties and involve himself in a possible fight with the offender? And why pick only on small-business bar owners Mr Dyer? That’s another injustice in itself.

Why not take your suggestion to its logical conclusion and make the directors of major property companies responsible for the illegal smoking which goes on in the toilets of their malls and office blocks?

Next, Mr Dyer could have the directors of public and private hospitals struck off the Medical Council of Hong Kong’s doctors’ list because patients have been found smoking in fire exit staircases.

This is only a start. I could provide far more potential injustices if he persists.

No, Mr Dyer, illegal smoking is a criminal offence and dealing with it is the duty of policemen and other relevant law enforcement officers in accordance with priorities.

P. A. Crush, Sha Tin

Green light for smoking ban in cars carrying young children

SMOKING in cars carrying children as passengers will be banned under new laws being introduced by the Government.

Health Minister James Reilly is taking up the proposal as part of a wider effort to discourage people from smoking altogether.

However, the plans are at a very early stage and it is not yet known how the new law will be policed. There is no definite timescale for its introduction either.

A government spokesman also said last night he did not expect it would be a penalty points offence to be caught smoking in a car with a child present.

The initial idea came from Independent senator John Crown, who tabled a motion in the Seanad with fellow Independent Jillian van Turnhout and Fianna Fail‘s Mark Daly.

The senators initially planned that the ban would be enforced by gardai through fines that start low but rise for multiple offences, but the final system will be decided by the Government.

At its weekly meeting yesterday, the Cabinet agreed amendments to a private members’ motion on the issue in the Seanad.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also confirmed in the Dail that the Cabinet had given the green light for the new laws to be drawn up.

Dr Reilly’s spokesman said Prof Crown should be credited for the idea, and said that the minister was more than happy to take it up and bring it into law.

“In its present form, the bill is deficient, so there are amendments that have to be made,” the spokesman said.

“It is not about restricting the rights of smokers, but it is about protecting the rights of children.”

Dr Reilly has also said he was examining banning smoking in parks and on beaches in a bid to discourage children from taking up the habit.

– Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Irish Independent

‘Male Smokers’ Damaged DNA Passed On To Offspring’

Although it is known that women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves and their unborn babies at risk for several health problems, new 

Smoking fathers pass on damaged DNA to their children raising the ‎ Daily Mail
‘If dad-to-be smokes DNA damage may pass to kids’‎ Halifax Evening Courier
Men who smoke pass on damaged DNA to their unborn children‎ domain-B