More transport interchanges to be covered by smoking ban

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 July, 2010, 12:00am

An amendment notice to ban smoking at open-air public transport interchanges by the end of the year was published in the Government Gazette yesterday.

Health Department director Dr Lam Ping-yan on June 30 designated 131 interchanges, including 129 in the open air and two covered interchanges, as non-smoking areas. The proposal is to be tabled in the Legislative Council next week. Subject to scrutiny by Legco, the amendment notice will come into effect on December 1.

A smoking ban at 43 indoor and 48 covered interchanges has been coming into effect in phases since January 1, 2007 and September 1, 2009, respectively. Two newly designated covered interchanges qualified as non-smoking areas in the past year due to routing modifications on public transport services.

One of them is at Lower Wong Tai Sin Estate and the other is at the north of Yuen Long Station, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health.

Open-air interchanges, such as the Star Ferry pier public transport interchange, Sha Tin racecourse public transport interchange and Hung Hom Station public interchange, will become non-smoking.

Interchanges with two or more modes of public transport and bus terminals of more than one specified route also qualify as designated non-smoking areas.

Smoking will be banned in boarding and waiting areas of interchanges, and also in areas passengers pass to access and change between different modes of public transport.

In a telephone survey conducted in January, the Tobacco Control Office found that 95 per cent of the public supported the smoking ban in transport interchanges.

Close to three quarters reported decreased exposure to second-hand smoke in interchanges where smoking was banned, a spokesman for the Tobacco Control Office said.

The office will launch a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the ban.