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Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed? – Letter From Christian, Chairman, CTA

SCMP – Dec 12, 2008

I refer to the letter by P. A. Crush (Talkback, December 6), where he represents himself as a member of the non-governmental organisation and charity Clear the Air and makes uninformed statements regarding smoking.

Clear the Air agrees with the state of California that tobacco smoke is a toxic air contaminant and pollutant akin to diesel fumes and thereby contributes significantly to air pollution, damage to public health and poor air quality.

It welcomes members and donor sponsors to join our (tax-deductible) charity who have a common interest in furthering all the society’s objectives to protect Hong Kong’s air quality and public health.

The organisation dissociates itself from Mr Crush’s opinions, made in his capacity as a bar owner [“I have a very small residual interest in an English pub”]. He resigned from Clear the Air two years ago.

Mr Crush said that [over 23 years in his pub] “95 per cent of the staff were smokers and wanted to smoke while on duty”. It should be pointed out that only 11.6 per cent of Hong Kong people are regular smokers.

The executive committee of Clear the Air fully supports the statements of James Middleton, chairman of its tobacco control committee (Talkback, December 2), since it is our society’s objective to reduce air pollution from all sources, indoor and outdoor, to improve public health.

Christian Masset, chairman, Clear the Air

We all know that smoking harms our health. It affects not only smokers but people near them through secondary smoke.

Smokers are always claiming that they have the right to light up, but non-smokers also have the right to breathe fresh air.

I think the ban on smoking in bars should not be delayed. The authorities must show their determination to the public.

If the smoking ban is delayed this time, I fear there is a strong possibility that there will be a second and even a third delay.

The authorities should not allow any delay, because the sooner the total ban on smoking is implemented, the better it will be for the health of Hong Kong residents.

Bar owners should bear in mind that the ban will only adversely affect their businesses in the short term.
This is because non-smoking customers will be attracted to smoke-free bars.

Smokers will still come, because they want to meet their friends.

It’s hoped that over time, they will get used to this and they will eventually give up their habit.

Kathleen Ng Pik-yue, Diamond Hill

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