Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Physical Barriers to Separate Smoking and Non-smoking Areas in Coffeeshops by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry will consider mandating physical barriers to separate smoking and non-smoking areas in coffee shops so as to reduce the impact of secondhand smoke on those not smoking.
1 To limit the exposure of second-hand tobacco smoke on non-smokers, smoking has been prohibited at all coffeeshops since July 2006, except at designated smoking corners. Smoking corners are typically located at the peripheral sections of outdoor refreshment areas, and are also limited to 20% of the outdoor refreshment areas.
2 Since June 2017, to further reduce the public’s exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke at retail food establishments including coffeeshops, the National Environment Agency has stopped accepting applications for new smoking corners in retail food establishments. Existing smoking corners in retail food establishments will be phased out when the licences of the establishments are terminated or cancelled. As such, the number of smoking corners in retail food establishments will decrease over time.
3 There are no plans to mandate the installation of physical barriers to separate the smoking and non-smoking areas in coffeeshops, as such barriers are not practical and ineffective in limiting the spread of second-hand tobacco smoke.
4 I urge smokers to be considerate and exercise social responsibility by refraining from lighting up at places where the second-hand tobacco smoke can affect others around them.