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    Bid to ban smoking in public

2005-05-24 06:20

MACAO: The SAR government is studying legislation to ban smoking in supermarkets, banks and offices while requiring restaurants to mark two-thirds of their space as no-smoking areas. The move has evoked split opinions from the targeted sectors.

Most of the local banks believe their customers rarely stay in the branches very long and would not mind the ban. As for offices, many companies have already banned smoking on their own initiative. Those that have not done so are not worried about the effect of a ban. Some say smokers are usually the annoying minority and constantly scolded by non-smoking colleagues.

As the most smoker-friendly place, restaurants are more likely to suffer from any kind of smoking ban, at least initially, than any other indoor facilities, owners say. The Western food restaurants in Macao should have little problem following such a law, because they already have specific regulations on smoking.

Those concerned most are the owners of Chinese food restaurants, because the shops are usually too small to divide into smoking and non-smoking areas. They think a partial smoking ban is impractical and ineffective.

The government should consider a sweeping ban on such indoor areas, or do it gradually according to their sizes or location, some owners suggest.

(HK Edition 05/24/2005 page3)


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