One year after the new tobacco control law passed first reading at the Legislative Assembly (AL), the Government has sent a second draft for lawmakers to analyse. The new proposal allows casinos to set up designated smoking areas but removes the exemptions for saunas, massage lounges and dance halls initially proposed. According to the draft sent to the AL on Friday, casinos have a one-year period to create smoking areas “up to a maximum of 50 percent of the total public area, as long as they are physically separated from the remaining facilities”.
These designated areas will also have to “meet the technical requirements” to be defined in a later Chief Executive dispatch. Last November, the Health Bureau director Lei Chin Ion revealed a study had been commissioned into the effectiveness of air purifiers in controlling tobacco smoke in casinos.
In the original draft, saunas, massage lounges and dance halls were also allowed to set up smoking areas, after a transition period of one year. But these venues, as well as bars, will now have three years to prepare for a full smoking ban.
“I’m disappointed,” Samuel Chan, the director of the Smoking and Health Life Association of Macau, told Macau Daily Times.
“In my opinion, I would like to have a 100 percent ban on smoking indoors. We had been trying to convince the responsible people and do some lobbying ourselves,” he said.