Respite could be on the way for commuters plagued by tobacco smoke on the Central to Mid-Levels escalator.
The escalator, being outdoors, is not covered by laws that prevent smokers from lighting up on other forms of transport. It is also excluded from coming legislation that will ban smoking in indoor public places.
But an amendment proposed by a Bills Committee studying the new law proposes that outdoor escalators be included. At meetings on February 17 and 20, the committee considered placing escalators, queues and country parks under the ban. It has since suggested that 'we start with including outdoor escalators in the smoking ban'.
The Mid-Levels escalator's management committee repeated that it was powerless to do anything, even though there were no-smoking signs on the escalator.
Annelise Connell, chairwoman of Clear the Air, said smoking in public areas should already be illegal under existing littering laws. She said it was against the law to 'deposit litter' and the definition of deposit included 'to discharge, spill, dump, tip, scatter or blow such litter or waste'.
Litter included 'any other offensive, noxious or obnoxious matter or liquid; and any substance likely to constitute a nuisance'.
Ms Connell said smoking fitted this description perfectly.
The Smoking Bill, published in April last year, is awaiting approval from the Legislative Council.
If it is passed, smoking in indoor workplaces, restaurants, billiard rooms, karaoke centres and bars that are open to all ages will become illegal from January 1.