The implementation of the region’s new tobacco control law began with the new year. On Jan. 1, five people were ticketed for smoking inside casinos, the Health Bureau (SSM) and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) revealed in a joint statement.
According to the new regulation, all indoor areas inside casinos and the airport must completely ban smoking, except within smoking lounges that are approved by the government.
Starting from the early morning on the first day of 2019, SSM’s tobacco control officers and DICJ officers inspected local casinos located in all areas of the city.
The two bureaus claimed that the first day of operations went smoothly with the support of all the concerned parties.
According to the SSM and the DICJ’s joint statement, until 4 p.m. of Jan. 1, SSM officers and DICJ officers inspected a total of 13 casinos.
During the inspection, five people were prosecuted, four of whom were tourists, while the other one was a Macau resident. All the prosecuted people cooperated with the bureaus’ officers.
In addition, between midnight of Jan. 1 and 4 p.m. on the same day, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Office received a total of four inquiries and complaints concerning casino tobacco control.
Under the regulation of the new tobacco control law, the smoking areas in all casinos of Macau are now discontinued.
Previously approved smoking areas should not continue their usage if the casinos did not apply for new smoking lounges.
The SSM also noted that the smoking lounges’ managers have the responsibility to comply with all tobacco control regulations, including ordering illegal smokers to immediately extinguish their cigarettes.
According to the regulation, a maximum fine of MOP200,000 will be applied to casinos that provide unapproved or unqualified smoking lounges.
According to SSM statistics, as of Sep. 28, 27 of the city’s 47 casinos had submitted applications for the creation of a total of 404 smoking lounges.
Forty-nine of the aforementioned smoking lounges have been approved already, with more than 200 of the 404 remaining applications requiring supplementary documents.
Regarding these more than 200 applications, the SSM believes that the approvals cannot be issued before Jan. 1, 2019.
As of Nov. 14, the SSM had received applications for a total of 437 smoking lounges (404 before Sep. 28). The 33 new applications submitted after Sep. 28 were submitted by six casinos.