Updated at 5.42pm: The government would introduce a bill into the Legislative Council between May and June to toughen Hong Kong?s anti-smoking laws ? currently considered too lax by health experts, local radio reported on Thursday. Deputy-Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Susie Ho Shuk-yee said that once the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance amendment was passed, smoking would be banned in all restaurants and indoor places, local radio reported. Ms Ho expects that the new anti-smoking law would be taken into force by the middle of next year. Legislators earlier criticised that the amendment was too lenient and urged the government to make it tougher. They demanded that the planned exemptions for some public places be removed and that the grace period for compliance be shortened. Ms Ho said as the draft was to be proposed between May and June, restaurants and entertainment places would be given sufficient time so that grace period for compliance would be cancelled. Smoking is becoming an increasingly controversial issue in the territory. Studies show that it kills up to 7,100 people each year in Hong Kong ? including 1,300 non-smokers who die from passive smoking. The latest study, led by HKU academics and published last month, estimates that the impact of smoking costs Hong Kong?s health system about $900 million. Last year, tax revenue generated by the sale of tobacco products was $2.3 billion ? just over 1 per cent of government income. Many countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have now passed tough anti-smoking laws, banning the habit from restaurants and public bars. However, in Asia many people still smoke heavily and the habit is widespread in bars, restaurants ? and even workplaces. There are also less restrictions on tobacco advertising, blamed by experts for encouraging young people to smoke.