Hong Kong - smokers defy smoking ban, no penalty for owners of venues..

July 5, 2010 - Hong Kong smokers are continuing to defy a ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public venues one year after tougher anti-smoking laws were introduced, a media report said Friday, July 2nd.


January 1, 2007 - The Hong Kong (population 6.9 million) smoking ban in public places came into effect on January 1, 2007. The ban covers most public areas, including restaurants, offices and karaoke lounges. It also extends to outside areas with swimming pools, beaches and the larger parts of public parks now designated as smoke-free. (Hong Kong - public smoking ban - smoking rooms??)

July 1, 2009 - Full enforcement of the ban on smoking in public areas came into effect on July 1, meaning people now have to butt out, at bars, nightclubs, bathhouses, massage establishments and mahjong/tin kau parlors. No one is allowed to smoke in public venues of any description, since universal enforcement of the law. (Hong Kong - total smoking ban in full force no exceptions..)

September 5, 2009 - Hong Kong - Is the fixed-penalty fine for smoking offenses effective?.

For more background information see past news briefs below..
Current legislation only targets the smokers themselves, not the owner of the venue were people are caught lighting up, creating a loophole, the South China Morning Post quoted University of Hong Kong professor Sophia Chan as saying.

Professor Sophia Chan: "If you fine the owners, they will certainly make the most effort to stop customers from smoking on their properties. But under the current policy they would not suffer any consequences," she said.

James Middleton, chairman of the Clean the Air anti-tobacco committee, said he thought the failure to include venue owners was deliberate. "The government really doesn't want a smoking ban; it earns too much from the tax on the sale of cigarettes," he said.

Initially smoking was banned in all indoor areas except entertainment venues from January 1, 2007 but the ban was extended on July 1 last year to cover bars, night clubs, private clubs, mahjong parlours and other entertainment venues.

Until the end of May the Tobacco Control Office had received 6,900 complaints and made 10,200 inspections. More than 3,000 people had been issued penalty tickets, which carry a 1,500-Hong-Kong-dollar (192-US-dollar) fine.

Reference: Smokers defy tough ban one year on, EarthTimes, 7/2/2010.

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