Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

Ben Roberts

P4 M3 D2

Explain and evaluate the impact of


government policies on public services
and the communities they serve.
The Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance 1982 (371)
This ordinance came about because of increasing evidence that
smoking was bad for people and the government decided to make
smoking a public health issue. The original ordinance has been
amended many times over the years to become more restrictive on
smokers. It is currently the major part of the legal framework on
tobacco control in Hong Kong. It includes statutory no smoking
areas, regulations on sale of tobacco and banning of tobacco
advertising. Over time the number of no smoking areas has
increased and in 2007 it was banned in all public places including
outdoor places such as beaches and parks.
However, the biggest weakness of the ordinance is that it punishes
the smoker not the owner of the building so why would a bar owner
stop people smoking, they wont get fined. Also why ban smoking
from nearly all places but allow cigarettes to be sold cheaply in
Hong Kong.
Again the biggest impact should be on the police as it is their duty
to enforce these laws, however, there is some evidence that the
police rarely enforce this ordinance unless it is very visible such as
in a government building. There a some videos on u tube showing
officers ignoring groups of youths smoking outside in parks and
communal areas. Some people believe its because they see the law
as unnecessary or a waste of their time and resources, or maybe
they are smokers. They have also been accused of only ticketing
foreign tourists that are usually unaware of the rules. It may also be
because there are other public service staff whose job it is to
enforce the ordinance. Tobacco control officers working for the
department of health are used to catch smokers in no smoking
areas. They issued 8,027 fixed penalty notices and summonses to
smoking offenders in 2014, compared to only 242 in 2012. Although
this sounds a lot, the public perception is that there are not enough
of these officers and most smoking in public goes unchallenged.
There are 99 officers covering a population of over 7 million people.
Despite this statistics show that smoking has been reduced every
year since 1982 in every age range and that must have a positive
effect on the community, which will be healthier and live longer and
less likely to be effected by secondary smoking if they dont smoke
themselves. This impacts public service staff in hospitals as there
will be less smoking related illness and diseases. It also keeps public
services staff fitter and healthier so they have less time off work.

Ben Roberts

P4 M3 D2

However, there is another effect on the community, the impact on


smokers. Smokers have been made to feel like outcasts, they feel
like they have been picked on and punished compared to drinking,
another public health issue, but not seen as one by the government.
Smokers have grouped together to protest but with no effect as the
ordinance always gets harsher, they are now talking about banning
all e cigarettes in the future.
The smoking ordinance has also had a big effect on both the public
services and the community and will continue to do so. The next big
step will be to punish the bars and restaurants that let smokers
smoke who at the moment dont get prosecuted for turning a blind
eye on the habit. At the moment the individual smoker gets
punished. If this was changed it would really cut the number of
smokers even more.
The Hong Kong Licensing Act (2011)
Before this Act licencing was controlled by Liquor Licensing Board of
Hong Kong which was created in 1997 after the handover. Laws for
alcohol and licencing have changed very little but are at least better
than Macau where there is no age limit on drinking alcohol.
The Dutiable Commodities (Liquor) Regulations (Cap. 109B), says
that only people or businesses with a liqour licence can sell alcohol
and then only to persons over the age of 18. This effects mainly
bars, clubs and restaurants. It is the job of the police to enforce this
law and take action when it is broken. The government says that
reducing alcohol-related harm is an important public health issue
but has its actions supported this statement? There is a Working
Group on Alcohol and Health that was set up under the Steering
Committee on Prevention and Control of Non-communicable
Diseases, chaired by the Secretary for Food and Health. This group
published the "Action Plan to Reduce Alcohol-related Harm in Hong
Kong" in October 2011. This included targeting underage drinking.
The Police tend to focus on areas such as Lan Kwai Fong and Wan
Chai but tend to concentrate on local underage drinkers rather than
ex-pats. Local bar owners are also harsher on local minors and often
let ex-pat minors in as they know the police are reluctant to deal
with them unless they are breaking other laws. The police tend to
concentrate on the poor behaviour of alcohol drinkers rather than
how old people are, so if underage drinkers behave they will usually
get away with it.
The main impact on public services is obviously the police who
enforce the laws and deal with most of the issues of over drinking
including minors. However, other problems such as health issues
can effect other public service workers such as medical staff.
Medical issues can be long term such as liver problems but also over
drinking by minors can lead to accidents such as falling over,
fighting or drink driving all creating extra work medical staff. The
government expects parents to sort this issue out and schools to

Ben Roberts

P4 M3 D2

help to reinforce the health angle but evidence shows that most HK
parents do little until there is a major problem caused by underage
drinking.
The Government does not keep statistics on the number of cases
where underage drinking caused illegal or dangerous acts. However,
the 2005 Child Health Survey commissioned by the Department of
Health found that 5% of children aged 11 to 14 had used alcohol
and 0.3% of them were current binge drinkers and a third of them
were under 11. One survey found 65% of secondary school students
admitted to trying alcohol and 25% had drunk recently. But they
didnt have any figures linking underage drinking to crime. This
shows that the government is very unlikely to take action on this.
The Action Plan also said other relevant promotional and community
activities might also help reduce sale of alcoholic beverages to
minors.
Perhaps the most shocking fact is that Hong Kong currently has no
restriction on the sale of alcohol by retail shops to people aged
under 18 but some organisations have adopted a voluntary code of
conduct to restrict the sale of alcohol to young people and members
of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association have agreed to
not sell alcohol to minors. Again the government seems to be scared
of hurting the business community taking away good profits from
small businesses. The seven eleven chain is seen as one of the
worst offenders for selling alcohol to underage drinkers. You could
argue that the police dont really clamp down on underage drinking
because the government are soft on it and the fact that shops like
seven eleven sell alcohol to minors makes policing underage
drinking virtually impossible. The Secretary for Food & Health stated
in 2013 that the government was not planning to change this at the
moment in a written answer to a question in LEGCO about the
problems of underage drinking. This lack of government action
would seem to suggest that the problem of underage drinking and
its knock on effects are unlikely to change in the near future as no
changes to the current laws are likely. It seems amazing that the
government is so strict on tobacco but not on alcohol when both are
bad for peoples health.

Resources
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Hong_Kong
https://www.tco.gov.hk/english/legislation/legislation_so.htm
l
http://hub.hku.hk/bitstream/10722/184392/1/FullText.pdf?accept=1
http://tobacco.cleartheair.org.hk/?p=2131
http://www.theshafin.com/ten-laws-that-are-broken-in-hong-kongevery-day

Ben Roberts

P4 M3 D2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uucgep3fJ50
http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201311/20/P201311200384.htm
https://kwiksure.com/news/hong-kongs-underage-drinkers/