Hong Kong Med J 2014;20(Suppl 3):S42-6
Health of catering workers in Hong Kong: impact of the 2006 tobacco control legislation
AJ Hedley, SM McGhee, R Fielding, JL Repace, CM Wong, SQ Lu, ALY Ho, HK Lai, LC Wong, J Chen
Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong
1. Second-hand tobacco smoke is a poison and a major cause of acute illness, chronic disease, and deaths in those exposed.
2. The 2006 Public Health Ordinance conferred enormous benefits in terms of health protection for catering workers. However, the legislation failed to secure the protection of all workers. The law is frequently violated by workers in supposedly non-smoking venues and the implementation of the ordinance did not take sufficient account of the need for clear advice to management on the mandatory nature of the legislation.
3. Non-smokers in exempted premises were continuously subjected to intensive tobacco smoke exposures. The 2.5 years exemption period predictably caused permanent harm to the health of many workers.
4. The delay in amending the Public Health (Smoking) Ordinance and failure to adhere to an evidence-based approach to tobacco control provides a lesson in the translation of public health evidence into policy and enforcement.