How can the smoking ban be better enforced?

Under the smoking ordinance, restaurant bosses can force their employees to give out ashtrays. But not under the labour laws.

Bosses have to take steps to prevent air pollution at work, and aiding and abetting illegal smoking is not allowed.

So don't just call the understaffed and underfunded Tobacco Control Office.

Write to the Labour Department and have them investigate the matter.

If the cafe sells alcohol, you can also call the police because allowing an illegal activity where alcohol is served is a violation of the liquor licence.

Spread the responsibility around and involve all government departments that have a duty to protect workers and prevent unlawful activities where alcohol is served - and we can improve the already very high compliance rate and make sure everyone has clean air to breathe at work.

Annelise Connell, Stanley

There was a heated debate about a smoking ban before the legislation was introduced in January.

Nine months on and there are still quite a number of people lighting up where smoking is banned.

The government should assign more tobacco control inspectors to police public areas where people are not supposed to smoke. Many people still feel they can smoke without worrying about receiving a warning or a fine.

The government should also increase the fines. The present one is not a deterrent to smokers.

In conjunction with these measures, the government needs to educate teenagers on the dangers of smoking.

Yuki Tsang, Kwun Tong

It is important to increase the number of designated places in public areas where smoking is permitted. There must also be clear directions so smokers know where they can go without breaking the law.

For many people, smoking is an addiction and when they feel the strong need to smoke, they need to be able to find the nearest designated area as quickly as possible. These areas should be near rubbish bins.

More arrests should be made of people who continue to flout the law. I also think tobacco control inspectors should not just patrol densely populated areas like Central and Mong Kok, and there should be more of them.

I hope the government can ensure the ban is more effective, for the sake of the air quality.

Kong Yuen-ying, Wong Tai Sin

Should the media leave gifted student Ho Hoi-lam alone?

While I would urge the media to respect the privacy of 14-year-old Ho Hoi-lam, I also hope Hoi-lam can realise that the intense media interest may have been partly fuelled by her attitude, which created the erroneous impression that she has had views on certain matters and that she hankered after a place in the limelight.

The situation is aggravated by Chinese University, which publicised her admission in a high-profile manner.

I hope the university can protect the interests and privacy of Hoi-lam.

Maggie Cheng, Quarry Bay

I think it is the time to call a halt to it and leave Hoi-lam alone. If she continues to be followed by cameras and asked for interviews, it will disrupt her studies.

She has asked the media to leave her alone and it should respect her wishes.

Although she is well-known, she should not be treated like this.

There have already been enough stories about her.

We are all entitled to our privacy and Hoi-lam is no exception.

Yau Yung-hon, Kwun Tong

On other matters...

We would like to thank your reader Stuart Brookes for his comments regarding passengers taking hand trolleys onto escalators (Talkback, August 27).

According to the MTR Corporation's ticket conditions, passengers should not have object measuring in excess of 80 x 60 x 30 centimetres, or objects that may cause a safety hazard.

However, station staff will also urge passengers to take the lift if they are carrying a large object (even if they are within the allowable limit), or items that may cause inconvenience to other passengers.

The corporation holds regular campaigns to promote safety and to appeal to passengers to observe safety rules. Notices and posters are also displayed to urge passengers carrying bulky items or luggage to use the lift.

We would like to assure Mr Brookes that the corporation will continue its efforts in promoting safe travel.

May Wong, corporate relations manager, MTR Corporation

While I was shopping in the supermarket in Stanley I had to wait to get near the fruit section while a mother was reprimanding her child, who appeared to be two to three years old.

Then the mother walked away leaving her child crouching on the floor in shame.

They finally continued into the bakery area. The mother then left her child and continued to shop with her helper on the other side of the store.

The girl ran to catch up and fell very hard against the floor, almost hurting her face. The staff and I were startled from the loud 'smack' . A child of this age should not be walking or running alone in a store where she could have easily got hurt. The mother or the helper should have been holding her hand or put her in the cart or stroller. It is their job to protect her, not mine or the store staff.

Also, many times I have had to put up with children misbehaving in the store and the parents do nothing about it.

Tracey Wu, Tai Tam