Hong Kong - temporary smoking ban exemption ends July 1, 2009..

February 13, 2009 - Bars, clubs, nightclubs, bathhouses, and massage and mahjong parlors will be made smoke-free premises when their temporary smoking ban exemption ends July 1, 2009 announced Secretary for Food & Health, Dr. York Chow. He said that smoking claims 6,900 Hong Kong lives annually, making it one of the city's leading causes of death. Dr. Chow thanked anti-smoking professionals whose work has cut the smoking prevalence of the population aged 15 and above from more than 23% in 1982, to about 12.

Background: The initial smoking ban, that was effective on January 1, 2007 prohibited lighting up in restaurants, workplaces, schools, karaoke lounges and public areas. Even smoking outdoors, at public beaches, swimming pools, sports grounds, museums and most areas in public parks is forbidden. Any smokers caught breaking the new law will be subject to a maximum penalty of HK$5,000 (US $644). Venues were not liable to any penalty. (Hong Kong wakes up to smoking ban new law prohibits lighting up inside and outside most public places, msnbc - 1/2/2007)

A new fixed penalty system for smoking offences will launch in the coming months, under which all offenders who smoke illegally must pay a $1,500 fine within 21 days. The smoking ban will also be expanded to public transport interchanges.

To help cut tobacco dependence the Government has adopted a combination of measures, including legislation, taxation, publicity, education, enforcement and smoking-cessation services.

Reference: Tobacco control to remain after smoke ban, news.gov.hk, 2/12/2009.

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Click on image to enlarge.., Paul Yeung/Reuters..