Customers 'will carry on as before'

REGULAR restaurant-goers yesterday criticised proposed anti-smoking legislation for not going far enough.

Customers interviewed at lunchtime said signs at the entrance to a restaurant would not affect their choice of where to eat.

Purchasing manager Au Pui-fun said the proposal was ''meaningless'' because it did not really combat smoking.

''Though the restaurant puts up a 'no non-smoking seats' sign, customers will probably still go because there may be no substitute near their office or home,'' she said.

Her view was echoed by marketing officer Elsie Chan who frequently ate in a Chinese seafood restaurant in Quarry Bay.

Ms Chan wondered why the Government proposed the ''meaningless'' bill.

She suggested the Government take a more radical step to force restaurants to divide into smoking and non-smoking areas.

Chan Kam-che, who works in publishing, said it was good to divide the restaurants because it was fair for the non-smokers to enjoy a fresher environment.

Mr Chan said he would not mind not smoking at lunchtime if the restaurants forbade him to do so.

Accounts officer Donny Ng, who has smoked for eight years, said the idea of introducing non-smoking areas was good and would not cause him any inconvenience.

But he doubted whether legislation would work because restaurant staff were not powerful enough to stop the customers from smoking.

Another accounts officer, Hans Ho, said instead of legislating on anti-smoking measures, the Government would do better to work on educating the public to give up the habit.