• April 21, 2024

Hong Kong Deploys Evil Eye Against Smoking

 Hong Kong Deploys Evil Eye Against Smoking

Photo: xixinxing

Photo: xixinxing

Hong Kong Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau stated that citizens can help create a smoke-free Hong Kong by staring at smokers who light up in smoke-free areas, according to the South China Morning Post.

“Cigarettes can harm the health of all of us,” Lo said. “When the members of the public see people smoking in nonsmoking areas, even if no law enforcement officers can show up immediately, we can stare at the smokers.

“When someone takes out a cigarette at a restaurant, everyone on the premises can stare at that person. I do not believe that person would dare to hit back at everyone at the restaurant as they are simply staring.”

Lo promised to improve law enforcement efforts but stated that societal pressure can help promote a smoke-free environment.

“We understand that law enforcement officers cannot always take action at the scene of the crime. When they arrive at the scene, the crime may have already stopped,” he said. “Take queuing at a bus stop as an example. No one will say it requires the law to compel people to queue. Our society is able to create a culture where people will comply with this rule of queuing when waiting for buses. I hope the whole of society can build a nonsmoking culture.”

Critics warned the proposal would cause needless “turmoil and conflict.”

“Even when officers from the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office head to the scene where smokers are found, they will go as a team instead of alone as these actions can trigger arguments and conflicts,” said lawmaker Chan Hoi-yan. “They should not teach the public to stare at people. The problem is someone violated the law but no one is there enforcing it.”

“Very few countries around the world have implemented similar measures,” said legislator Chan Kin-por, referring to the tobacco endgame age restrictions. “Tobacco control measures should be gradual. One-size-fits-all policies may backfire.”