Thursday, October 3, 2013

Macau Wants "No Smoking" to Mean "No Smoking"

At Posto Fronteiri├žo Das Portas Do Cerco, the immigration check point at Macau's border with mainland China, I saw a large sign with a message for visitors arriving in Macau.

sign reading "Starting 1st January 2013 smoking is prohibited in no smoking areas in Casinos. Offender shall be liable to a fine of MOP400.
400 Macau Patacas (MOP) equals approximately 50 U.S. Dollars

That one could be fined for smoking in a non-smoking area seemed like useful information. That smoking is prohibited in a non-smoking area seemed rather obvious to me though. But then I recalled examples of people ignoring "no smoking" signs in China. So maybe the added emphasis is worthwhile.

Earlier this year, Macau enacted new regulations requiring casinos to designate at least half of their public space as non-smoking areas. Some wrinkles need to be ironed out though. For example, in one case a casino was reported to have surrounded an air monitoring device with air purifiers. And a review found more than half of the evaluated casinos were not fully complying with the requirements. Even when casinos follow the regulations, creative strategies can defeat some of their purpose -- for example, placing most of the popular games in smoking areas. Not surprisingly, Macau's government plans on revising the regulations.

Casinos are big part of Macau's economy, and some worry that the no-smoking rules will hurt business. But Macau's government seems committed to improving the indoor air quality for more people, even if it means telling people they can't smoke where they can't smoke.

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