What do you think of the smoking ban?


Since January 1st 2007, smoking in most public places, such are bars and restaurants, has been illegal in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, given the local culture, the ban has been extremely effective. The first 'Golden Week' holiday, when buses of mainlanders come down, will be interesting as smoking is practically compulsory for men in China.

There has been an increase in whinging letters to the SCMP, though, as smokers are suddenly realising that they have to go outside to light up now:

What do you think of the smoking ban?

Everybody knows that with the latest smoking ban the suffering has shifted from non-smokers to smokers.

Smokers were already used to suppressing themselves in large restaurants out of respect for non-smokers. Surely this universal ban must be the last straw. Also, small cafe owners must now wonder whether non-smokers will take the place of smokers.

This is laughable. Smokers were most certainly not used to 'suppressing themselves in large restaurants out of respect for non-smokers'. Smokers were free to indulge their vice and blow their second hand smoke in the faces of those who wanted to be able to enjoy their food. Hong Kong restaurants never really took the concept of separating the smoking and non-smoking areas seriously. Frequently, the table next to you could be denoted as a smoking table and populated by a bunch of chain-smokers.

The last straw for what? An antisocial and harmful habit? Being forced to inhale second hand smoke when all you really want is some noodles?

As for suffering, pardon me while I roll my eyes. Whining about self-inflicted suffering is pathetic.

Smokers are now forced to smoke in the street. You will see more of them standing on the pavement in the coming weeks.

No one is forcing you to stand out in the cold wind. If you want to stay indoors, don't smoke. If you're not capable of going out for a drink or a meal without a cigarette perhaps you have an addiction?

Is this what we really want? Was this decision based on the majority of non-smokers and businesses or just a few?

Michael Cheung, Sham Shui Po

This decision was based on decades of research showing clearly that both first-hand and second hand smoke is very bad for your (and everyone else's) health. All this whinging about how your freedoms are being infringed means nothing because most smokers never cared about the freedom of non-smokers from noxious smoke.

You know something? It's nice to be able to go out for a drink and not return stinking like an ashtray. It's nice to go for yum cha and not have to deal with the constant wafting of smoke across the table. It's nice to be able to go to a restaurant and be able to taste your food, without being nauseated by the stink of stale tobacco.

It's not a restriction of your freedoms, it's a restoration of the balance between your freedoms and my freedoms. You're free to smoke, but you're not free to inflict your waste smoke on me. I'm free to enjoy my drink, but not free to piss on your leg.


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This page contains a single entry by dave published on January 9, 2007 12:57 PM.

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