Pan-democrats: No more delay on anti-smoking law

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Issue 1222, Page 4
Word count: 409
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The New Macau Association petitioned the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, calling for the enactment of the anti-smoking law in the city as soon as possible.

In 2005, China ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which, according to the Basic Law, also applies to the Macau SAR.

All the 129 signatory parties met in 2007 where they unanimously agreed that all indoor workplaces and indoor public venues should be free of tobacco smoke, and related measures must be legislated.

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for writing a compliance report regarding Macau’s situation each year to the governing body of the WHO FCTC – the Conference of the Parties (COP).

The New Macau Association hence urged the Commissioner to report “the truth” to the COP that the SAR Government is “determined to hinder the legislative work [of the anti-smoking law]”, vice-president Scott Chiang Meng Hin said.

Chiang said the guidelines for the implementation of WHO FCTC already oppose the use of ventilation facilities, air purifiers or designated smoking rooms/areas to replace a smoking ban, as they have already been found to be ineffective in minimising the adverse impact of tobacco smoke on people’s health.

Director of the Health Bureau Lei Chin Ion admitted to the media last year that the Government was studying the use of smoke filters in casinos. No results of the study have been released so far.

“The Government has been delaying the legislative process by studying again and again other measures in the hope to replace the implementation of a full smoking ban in some indoor public venues,” Chiang told reporters.

Despite the three-fold jump in tobacco tax from MOP 1 to MOP 4 for each 20-cigarette pack in Macau in 2009, Chiang said the level is still “very low” compared to other countries and shows “no determination” to achieve the goal of reducing tobacco consumption.

Aside from yesterday’s petition, the association also plans to stage a sit-in in front of the Government Headquarters in Nam Van from 3 pm to 9 pm this Sunday.

The Health Bureau handed in the first draft of the anti-smoking law to the Legislative Assembly in January 2010, but the bill was later returned to the bureau for further amendments. Lei Chin Ion disclosed recently in a response to a lawmaker’s interpellation that the second version of the draft law has already been completed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: