Another man's poison

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 November, 2008, 12:00am

To prop up one segment of Hong Kong's economy, volunteers are being sought who are prepared to lay down their lives.

Those who step forward will have to ingest known carcinogens along with traces of polonium-210, a radioactive substance used to kill former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko; acrolein, an agent in mustard gas; and benzopyrene, which causes genetic mutations. They will risk impotence, heart failure, depression and halitosis. This sounds like a lot to ask of anybody, even in a recession, but our bar and club owners must feel that desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Hong Kong Catering Industry Association is seeking people willing to put their health on the line to keep nightclubs and bars in business. The association wants a delay in the next phase of the smoking ban, which would require bars and clubs that have not already done so to go smoke free from July 1, next year.

There is an absurdity here; most cities that have banned smoking have seen an increase in bar and restaurant business. Maybe people who like to party without sucking in cyanide go out more frequently when they can breathe freely at the end of the evening. Our legislators should stand firm and help save lives.