December 2, 2010 - As a smoking ban came into force at 131 bus terminals yesterday, December 1st members of the public were still lighting up and pleading ignorance.
Those smoking or carrying a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe at 129 open air and two covered public transport facilities are now liable to a HK$1,500 (193.16 USD) fixed-penalty notice. Despite no-smoking signs and maps highlighting the smoke-free zones, many passengers failed to notice and lit up anyway.
The Department of Health said it hopes the extension of the smoking ban will further protect the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
A smoker waiting at a bus terminal near Wan Chai pier said he did not know anything about the new rules. Another traveler thought he could smoke in any open area.
The ban is being implemented in phases with a total of 54 indoor and 48 covered public transport facilities first being affected from January 1, 2007, and September 1, 2009, respectively. More than 15,000 summonses and 8,000 fixed-penalty notices were issued to offenders from January 2007 to October this year by the Tobacco Control Office.
For example: a smoking ban at six types of listed establishments will take effect on July 1, 2009 in accordance with the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371). These establishments are bars, clubs, night-clubs, bathhouses, massage establishments and mahjong-tin kau premises. (Hong Kong - total smoking ban in effect - Wednesday, July 1, 2009..)
Separately, at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Court a 49-year-old man was sentenced to 80 hours' community service for assaulting a Tobacco Control Inspector and obstructing a public officer in a no smoking area. The man was found smoking at an amusement arcade in Wong Tai Sin on October 6 and assaulted the officer from the inspection team. STAFF REPORTER
Reference: Smoking bans at bus stations fare badly on first day, STAFF REPORTER, the Standard, 12/2/2010.
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