Use of e-cigarettes forbidden in non-smoking areas

The Health Bureau (SSM) clarified in a statement this week that the use of electronic cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas is subject to penalties similar to those imposed on tobacco products.

The SSM stated that according to the Law number 5/2011 on smoking prevention and control – amended by Law number 9/2017, which came into force on January 1, 2018 – non-smoking areas cover a 10-meter radius around non-smoking signage and include locations such as public bus stops.

The SSM added that the fines for infringements of such laws, including illegal use of e-cigarettes, had increased from MOP600 to MOP1,500.

The bureau also noted that since the law first came into force on January 1, 2012, it had conducted 1,9 million inspections at various establishments as of October 31, 2018. This translated to an average of 764 inspections per day, and resulted in 49,385 accusations of infringement.

Between January 1 and October 31 this year, smoke inspectors performed a total of 288,761 inspections, raising the daily average to 950 inspections per day.

The SSM also noted that there were 4,669 accusations against smokers in the first 10 months of this year, noting that nine of these were in reference to the use of e-cigarettes in prohibited areas.

According to the SSM’s data, there was a slight year-on- year decrease in the number of illegal smokers, which was down by 1,184 accusations at last count.

The Bureau also noted that in 110 cases, it had to request backup from security forces.

Common locations for infractions include casinos, with a total of 30.5 percent of cases reported there; followed by parks, gardens and leisure areas with 13.1 percent, and 10.4 percent registered at the airport.

Regarding compliance with the non-smoking law in casinos, SSM inspectors have carried out 725 inspections as of October 31, 2018 together with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, resulting in 1,431 accusations.

As for the status of fines for illegal smoking, the SSM said that 83.1 percent of all cases have been settled. RM

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