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Why are smokers in no-smoking zone?

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Why are smokers in no-smoking zone?

Post by Benny on 3rd July 2008, 9:07 am


Mr Alvin Hoi would not hesitate to tell
off smokers who light up in the
non-smoking zone. -- Picture:
CHARISSA YONG Photo Illustration: SIMON ANG
MR Alvin Hoi is tucking into his meal
at the coffee shop.
Suddenly, a whiff of smoke
overwhelms him.


He looks up and sees the old man at the next table taking a drag on his cigarette.

The man is seated at a table with a no-smoking sticker.

On many occasions, Mr Hoi, 25, a non-smoker, has been caught in such a situation - in which smokers light up at places where they should not be doing so.

And the technical officer will not hesitate to give these inconsiderate smokers a piece of his mind.

Mr Hoi said: 'I'll go up to them and tell them, 'Please don't smoke here'.'

So far, all the people he had told off had complied with his request.

The smoking ban in most air-conditioned places was first introduced here in 1970 and has been progressively extended to many public areas.

The ban hit coffee shops and entertainment outlets in July 2006 and July 2007 respectively.

And it frustrates Mr Hoi that some smokers are flouting the law and insisting on lighting up inside the no-smoking areas.

'I don't know if it is because the culture of not smoking in public places has yet to set in,' he said.

Or perhaps those who flout the rules are just plain lazy, he added.

He is especially annoyed when he sits at a coffee shop and has to put up with cigarette smoke from those who light up in the no-smoking zone.

'I feel like they are intruding into my space,' he said.

Those caught smoking in prohibited places can be fined up to $1,000.

A spokesman for the National Environment Agency (NEA) said offenders can be given a composition fine of $200 for both first and subsequent offences.

In 2006, NEA booked 1,450 smokers and managements of premises for violating the smoking ban.

A further 4,379 were booked last year, while another 1,738 have been booked from January to May this year.

Mr Hoi said: 'Those who don't listen may be testing the system because they don't think they will get caught.'

He also thinks that the no-smoking signages could be improved at places such as bus stops and taxi stands.

'There are signs, but some of them are not visible enough,' he said.

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