Most of the members of the Legislative Assembly committee in charge of discussing a revised tobacco control bill are against a full smoking ban inside casinos.
The government has so far refused to back down on a proposed ban, which would also cover airports and the SAR’s prison.
Macau casinos have introduced smoking lounges last year, once it became prohibited to smoke in the mass market gambling areas.
But Secretary Alexis Tam has repeatedly pledged to end these lounges and he pushed for a draft bill that would introduce a full smoking ban.
The proposal passed first reading but most of the members of the Legislative Assembly committee in charge of reviewing it are against the ban.
“Most members of this committee agree with setting up smoking lounges in casinos, as long as they meet some requirements. That means not impacting the health of other people”, said Chan Chak Mo, President of the Legislative Assembly’s Second Standing Committee.
The government has said it is open to changing the law, but only if smoking lounges have no impact of the health of visitors and workers.
Chan says that’s not enough for two lawmakers, who back a full ban.
“The creation of smoking rooms in casinos will affect neither workers nor non-smokers. That’s why we agree with it. But there are two members that have expressed their opposition, which means, they support a full smoking ban inside casinos”.
The law revision would also put an end to an outdoor smoking area located inside the Coloane prison.
On that point, lawmakers are united in their opposition.
“Members are against it, because the convicts are doing their time and they already have their freedom limited. As such, banning him or her from smoking would be to remove one more right. That’s why we believe that smoking should be allowed on outdoor areas of the prison. Because that’s a human right”, Mr. Chan said.
Lawmakers are also against banning smoking in shops that only sell tobacco products, namely cigar stores.