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Hong Kong to adopt a new, bizarre ‘stop smoking’ approach

By Hannah Rhodes 16th August 2023 2 Mins


Following a public consultation launch to reduce smoking in Hong Kong, Professor Lo Chung-mau, the territory’s health minister, has pitched a truly bizarre suggestion…to stare at smokers.

This recommendation, although an unusual one, is hoped to reduce the number of smokers lighting up in public spaces, even if it is just from being made to feel uncomfortable.

Professor Lo said: “When the members of the public see people with cigarettes in non-smoking areas, even if no law enforcement officers can show up immediately, we can stare at the smokers.

“When someone takes out a cigarette at a restaurant, everyone on the premises can stare at that person.

“I do not believe that person would dare to hit back at everyone at the restaurant as they are simply staring.”


Statutory no-smoking areas in Hong Kong currently include parts of restaurants, workplaces, indoor public places and select outdoor public areas – with penalties of HK$1,500 (£147) for breaches.

Professor Lo, who is also a medical doctor, said smoking was bad for the health of everyone and Hong Kong needed a ‘culture in society that people are willing to comply with the law’.

Whilst their concerns are focused on the right topic – to assist in the quitting of smoking cigarettes – it can’t be said this technique will be very effective both in the short and long-term.

For a more productive approach, it would be more beneficial to engage in a respectful and open conversation to aid in smokers’ quitting journeys.

Other proven ways that can help may include sharing information about the health risks, being more empathetic and supportive rather than confrontational, or by providing healthier alternatives such as vaping.

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About this author

Hannah Rhodes

Hannah is a journalist with a filmmaking and marketing background, which has paved the way for creating engaging, meaningful stories regardless of the topic. Despite not having smoked or vaped herself, Hannah firmly believes in the power vaping holds as a harm reduction tool as she grew up in a smoking household, resulting in a need to help those in similar positions in any way she can – be that through her writing for Vapouround’s various magazines or online audiences; or by connecting with locals on our bus tours. She prides herself on her ability to form and maintain close relationships with those both inside and outside the industry and believes that kindness is key in all walks of life.