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Extension of smoking ban promotes a smoke-free environment

1 Sep 2009

The public are further protected from the risk of second-hand smoke following the prohibition of smoking at 48 designated public transport facilities (PTF) throughout the territory today (September 1), a Government spokesman said.

Also implemented on the same day was the fixed penalty system (FPS) for smoking offence, the spokesman said.

"No-smoking signs have been put up at the PTFs to remind the public of the legislative requirements.

"The implementation of FPS is smooth. The measure indicates the government's determination to enforce the smoking ban," the spokesman said.

Under FPS, Tobacco Control Inspectors, police officers, specified officers of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and Housing Department (HD) are authorized to issue fixed penalty notices to people smoking in prohibited areas under their purviews, he said.

Under the Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Ordinance, any person who smokes or carries a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe in any designated no smoking areas or public transport carrier will be issued with a fixed penalty notice of $1,500 by enforcement officers.

The spokesman said that the FEHD had maintained a close dialogue with the staff side and relevant staff associations in preparation for their new enforcement duty.

"Recognising staff concerns, clear guidelines have been formulated and training provided to staff to equip them for implementing the FPS. Major staff associations relevant to the FPS enforcement unanimously acknowledged public expectations on effective smoking control, and affirmed that they would perform their duties diligently according to departmental guidelines.

"FEHD will continue to communicate with the staff side and improve the enforcement guidelines in the light of practical experience," the spokesman said.

Regarding the enforcement of the ordinance at venues managed by LCSD, the spokesman said the department understood the concerns of its staff.

"The department will continue to explain to its concerned staff the spirit of the ordinance and the detailed procedures of enforcement.

"It will maintain communication with the concerned staff to address their queries and concerns about the enforcement work.

"In order to facilitate staff to discharge their duties effectively, the LCSD will further provide suitable training to colleagues and revise and improve the departmental guidelines in the light of the experience gained," the spokesman said.

The Government will continue to carry out enforcement action and to convey no-smoking message to the community," he said.

The spokesman appealed to the public to comply with the legislative requirements and to cooperate with authorized public officers in maintaining a smoke-free environment.

He also appealed to all smokers to take the opportunity to quit smoking. For information on smoking cessation, the public are advised to call the Smoking Cessation Hotline of the Department of Health at 1833 183.

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