Smokers comply willingly as new law takes effect in restaurants and bars, officials say The smoking ban got off to a smooth start yesterday with no summonses issued in bars and entertainment venues, the enforcers of the new law said. The Tobacco Control Office said it had received 21 complaints, mainly from the public, about people smoking in prohibited areas. Of these, 12 were related to smoking in restaurants and the rest to smoking in parks and other areas. There were also more than 30 inquiries from smokers as to where they could smoke. Yesterday's races at Sha Tin were also largely smoke-free, with the Hong Kong Jockey Club banning smoking in all indoor areas. Smoking was allowed in the outdoor public stand. Tobacco control inspectors visited more than 50 establishments including bars, karaoke lounges and restaurants before and shortly after midnight and no smokers were found defying the ban during the overnight operation. 'The operation has been smooth. We will be sending our officers to different places in Hong Kong and we are giving full support to venue managers to ensure the smooth implementation of the new legal requirement,' said the deputy director of the Department of Health, Leung Ting-hung. 'Most smokers put out their cigarettes after our officers approached them. We will continue to make inspections at different areas and patrol more places complained about by members of the public.' He said no summonses had been issued on the first day. Phillip Chow Chi-hong, a supervisor of the Lux Restaurant and Bar in Lan Kwai Fong, said last night he had needed to ask customers 'more than 10 times' to smoke outside but 'they were pretty much co-operative'. He said the ban wouldn't upset his business too much. 'It's just like cinemas - people kept going to the movies after smoking was banned. Customer Jo-Jo Chen, a former mainlander, was less happy. 'This will make me less interested in going to bars and restaurants,' she said, catching a puff outside where the bar has set up two ashtrays each more than 30cm in diameter - although she admitted she didn't like second-hand smoke. Her friend Kwon Tai-hyoung, 48, visiting from Korea, said he supported such a ban even though he smoked three packets a day for 20 years. 'I'll still go to bars and restaurants,' he said. At the nearby Baci Italian restaurant, manager Allen Lau was jubilant. 'My business looks likely to go up 20 per cent,' he said. He had a party of 14 booked in, including six children. 'The adults said they are more comfortable about bringing kids in now,' Mr Lau said. Carlie Wo Lai-chu, human resources training manager at California Red, said the chain of karaoke lounges had developed a strategy to attract families and the elderly, in response to its fears of losing business under the new law. 'We have a breakfast package so that the elderly can come to sing and eat dim sum after doing morning exercise,' she said.