LCQ9: No smoking areas in public transport facilities
In December 2015, the Government amended the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap. 371) to impose a smoking ban at bus interchanges (BIs) and adjoining facilities located at eight tunnel portal areas in Hong Kong, with an aim to minimise the impact of passive smoking on waiting passengers and protect public health. Such legislative amendments have come into operation since March 31 last year but they do not cover the Tuen Mun Road Bus-Bus Interchange (BBI), resulting in members of the public who are waiting there for change of bus being forced to inhale second-hand smoke every day. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the reasons why the authorities, when taking forward the aforesaid legislative amendment exercise, did not designate the Tuen Mun Road BBI, which by then had been commissioned for nearly three years, as a statutory no smoking area (NSA); and
(2) of the BIs across the territory which have currently not yet been designated as NSAs, and whether the authorities will extend the smoking ban to such locations; if so, of the timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
The Government has been taking a progressive and multi-pronged approach in its tobacco control policies to discourage smoking, encourage smokers to quit as early as possible or reduce smoking, and protect the public from the adverse impact of second-hand smoke to the extent possible.
Since September 1, 2009, the Government has designated no smoking areas (NSAs) in public transport facilities (PTFs) by phases for those areas identified as fulfilling the criteria as set out in section 3(1AB) of the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371):
(a) any area that consists of the termini of two or more modes of public transport and is used for effecting and facilitating interchange between them; or
(b) any bus terminus of more than one specified route as defined in section 2 of the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Cap 230).
At present, a total of 239 PTFs (including 50 PTFs with superstructures, 55 indoor PTFs and 134 open-air PTFs) are designated as NSAs.
We enacted the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 2) Order 2015 to designate the following eight bus interchanges (BIs) located at tunnel portal areas as NSAs in December 2015:
(a) Lion Rock Tunnel Bus Interchange;
(b) Cross-Harbour Tunnel Bus Interchange;
(c) Eastern Harbour Crossing Bus Interchange;
(d) Shing Mun Tunnels Bus Interchange;
(e) Tate's Cairn Tunnel Bus Interchange;
(f) Western Harbour Crossing Bus Interchange;
(g) Tai Lam Tunnel Bus Interchange; and
(h) Tsing Sha Highway Bus Interchange.
We have considered the physical configuration of these public facilities, the pedestrian flow and enforcement issues in designating the above BIs as NSAs, which serves as an initial step for testing the feasibility of expanding NSAs to other public facilities. The Tuen Mun Road Bus-Bus Interchange is not located at a tunnel portal area thus was not designated as a NSA. This year, we will review the situation and effectiveness of this measure implemented last March, and based on the review outcome, consider the feasibility and timetable of further expanding NSAs to other facilities or areas (including the Tuen Mun Road Bus-Bus Interchange etc.), with the view to introducing further tobacco control measures when appropriate to safeguard public health.
Ends/Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:50
Issued at HKT 17:50