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LCQ10:Statutory no-smoking areas

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (November 3):


     At the meeting of this Council on May 7, 2008, I enquired whether the Government would consider including elevated outdoor covered walkways and footbridges within the designated no-smoking areas (NSAs) under the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371). In reply, the Government advised that as the Ordinance had only come into force for slightly over a year, it preferred to assess the need and merits of further expanding the scope of NSAs after a more comprehensive assessment of the full effect of the new legislation. Since then, the Government has extended NSAs to include public transport facilities. Given that in his 2009-2010 Policy Address, the Chief Executive advised that the Government would extend the existing footbridge system in Mong Kok to join the two MTR stations in the area and the vicinity of Tai Kok Tsui as part of a wider effort to improve the pedestrian environment, will the Government inform this Council whether it has conducted any study on further extending NSAs to include elevated outdoor covered walkways and footbridges; if so, of the results, and whether it will now consider adding these pedestrian facilities to the designated NSAs so as to further improve the pedestrian environment?



     The Administration has been taking a step-by-step and multi-pronged approach to minimise the harmful effects of tobacco on the public and the community.  The purpose of our tobacco control policy is to discourage smoking, to encourage smokers to reduce smoking or to quit as early as possible, and to protect the public from the adverse impact of second-hand smoke to the extent possible.

     Major amendments to the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371) (the Ordinance) were passed by the Legislative Council in late 2006.  The statutory no-smoking areas currently specified under the Ordinance are the outcome of extensive consultations with various sectors of the community and thorough deliberations by the Administration and the Legislative Council, balancing the interests of different stakeholders.  Since January 1, 2007, the no-smoking areas have been extended to cover a vast expanse of venues, including all indoor areas in a workplace or public place, and many outdoor leisure grounds and public transport interchanges. Implementation of the extended no-smoking areas has so far been smooth in general, with good compliance of the smoking ban on the part of most smokers.  The success is attributable to the recognition and support of the new law by the public, including both smokers and non-smokers.  This achievement is made possible through years of broad-based discussion in the community and public education.

     We shall continue with our tobacco control efforts which include designating no-smoking areas in the second batch of 129 open-air public transport interchanges meeting the legal definition under the Ordinance and implementing the smoking ban at these public transport interchanges with effect from December 1, 2010.  This will further minimise the effects of second-hand smoke on the public for protection of public health.  We will keep in view the compliance situation after implementation of smoking ban in various venues, with a view to assessing the need and means for further strengthening our efforts in tobacco control.

     Under section 3(1) and Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Ordinance, any indoor area in a workplace or public place and any escalator is a designated no-smoking area.  Any elevated outdoor covered walkways or footbridges which meet the definition of "indoor" stated in the Ordinance (i.e. having a roof and enclosed at least up to 50% of the total area of all sides) are statutory no-smoking areas where the smoking ban is equally applicable.  There are at present a number of covered footbridges which meet the definition of "indoor" stated in the Ordinance and thus belongs to no-smoking areas.  

     The Administration will continue to take into account the actual situation and public expectations and further consider in due course the taking of additional policy initiative (including the necessity and feasibility of revising the no smoking areas) to strengthen tobacco control and promote smoking cessation in order to safeguard public health.  We will also continue to strengthen our tobacco control regime through a wide range of complementary measures including law enforcement, publicity, education and smoking cessation.

Ends/Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:45


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