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Many street smokers put us all at risk

I, like all medical doctors in Hong Kong, mourned deeply the loss of our dear friend and colleague Dr Lo Wing-lok to lung cancer just three years after we lost his wife to the same disease.

As our secretary for food and health, Dr Ko Wing-man, has pointed out, Dr Lo’s great contribution to the Hong Kong community in general and medical community in particular is irreplaceable.

I wonder whether Dr Ko has asked himself why lung cancer could have afflicted the couple. They were both non-smokers and health conscious just like four of my friends who have been diagnosed with late-stage adenocarcinoma of the lung in the last three months.

They too are non-smokers caught in the current cancer epidemic.

Those of us who live and work in the busiest urban areas of Hong Kong or Kowloon cannot help but notice how polluted the atmosphere is with cigarette smoke emanating from crowds of people smoking like chimneys near the many rubbish bins along our streets.

This smoke is difficult to disperse, with our narrow streets and high-rise buildings on each side.

Towards the end of each working day, when we walk home, we all breathe in a heavy dose of cigarette smoke and, worse still, we will all bring along cigarette smoke on our clothes to poison our family.

I urgently appeal to Dr Ko and our government to ban smoking on public thoroughfares and remove the numerous rubbish bins along the streets with immediate effect, for the greater good of public health.

Peter H. T. Wu, Mid-Levels

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