Stand up for right to breathe fresh air

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 July, 2011, 12:00am


Everyone has the right to breathe fresh air and not to be exposed to harmful habits. However, my experience at a Chinese restaurant recently made me wonder whether this right is well protected.

While my friends and I were enjoying our dinner, clouds of tobacco fumes came from a nearby table. The smell left some of us coughing and totally spoiled our night. We complained to the manager, who gave us the cold shoulder. We tried to call the tobacco control office, but in vain. We had no choice but to endure the stench until we left the restaurant, our clothes full of the smell of smoke.

The law states that indoor areas should be smoke-free from January 2007. I understand the restaurant owner was in a dilemma - should he obey the law or lose business? But when we tolerate indoor smoking, what we are giving up is not just fresh air but also our basic civic rights and our protection by the law.

Ricky Tam Kin-shing, Tin Shui Wai Government Secondary School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Ricky. In today's news, there is a story about how second-hand smoke affects children who are exposed to it.

But you are mistaken if you believe you have 'no choice' in this matter. You have the choice of getting up and walking out. Of course, this sort of personal statement is always best made if you have a large group of people and you have already placed your order, showing that you are willing to spend the money. That way, the management will learn to deal with the situation rather than lose customers.

Susan, Editor