Research findings show that 60 percent of Macau’s casino workers think that a full smoking ban in casinos would have a positive impact on them, but when given options, only 40 percent chose a full smoking ban whereas 60 percent preferred the retention of smoking lounges, University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Business Administration Associate Professor Desmond Lam Chee Shiong said on Monday.
Among the 60 percent who preferred the retention of smoking lounges, 47 percent opted for improved air quality standards while 13 percent indicated that they were satisfied with the existing standards.
The public university was commissioned by the six gaming operators to conduct research on smoking lounges in local casinos as a reference for the legislature’s protracted revision of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Law’s amendment bill. Lam, who headed the survey, announced the findings during a press conference.
Lam also said that the findings show that 57 percent of the respondents thought that retaining smoking lounges would have a positive impact on them, and that 87 percent of the respondents who worked as dealers (croupiers) thought that the air quality in their workplace had improved after the setting up of smoking lounges in 2014.
According to Lam, the computer-assisted survey was conducted in 33 interview locations in October with 14,301 responses collected, which, according to the survey, accounted for 13.4 percent of all casino workers in Macau at that time. Some 70 percent of the respondents were dealers.
The six gaming operators also commissioned PolyU Technology and Consultancy Co. Ltd to conduct indoor air quality tests in all local casinos, and set stricter standards for the smoking lounges.
SJM Chairman Ambrose So Shu Fai said at the press conference there should be no conflict between the Tobacco Prevention and Control Law and the setting-up of smoking lounges as both aimed to provide a smoke-free environment.
So said the proposed standards for smoking lounges were submitted to the government at the end of last year. He said he hoped that the government will give gaming operators a one-year grace period to upgrade their smoking lounges if the new standards are approved.
The Health Bureau (SSM) released a statement on Monday evening in response to the findings, saying that the government will “carefully” consider accepting the new standards for smoking lounges.