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Health Bureau ‘misleading’ on anti-smoking standards
Macau Daily Times 06/08/2010 Vítor Quintã

Casinos’ exemption from the anti-smoking law ‘would single out (…) casino workers, not to mention customers – whose right to health will be significantly threatened,’ a World Health Organization official warned
The Health Bureau “is neglecting the health of more than 40,000 casino employees” as well as giving “deceptive statements, misleading lawmakers and the public” on the anti-smoking law. The warning came from an open letter sent yesterday to the Legislative Assembly by a group calling itself the Macau Association of Labour Rights in Gaming Industry.
Last week the bureau said the smoking prevention and control regulation would take into consideration the “operating features” of casinos while protecting public health. The bureau assured the law would “fulfill the requirements” of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – “to create at least 90 percent of smoke-free areas in indoor spaces”.
However, a WHO official told the group: “no where in the WHO FCTC does it suggest that smoking bans for only 90 percent of the population at risk is considered to be sufficient to be in compliance.” In fact, James Rarick added, the casinos’ exemption “ignores two of the most important underlying principles” of FCTC: “The fundamental human right to the highest attainable standard of health” and “the duty of governments to protect individuals from tobacco smoke.”
These principles, the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative official stressed, should be applied to “all people” and “all indoor workplaces and indoor public places.” An exemption “would in fact single out a specific population – casino workers, not to mention customers – whose right to health will be significantly threatened,” Rarick said.
| 2010-08-07 11:45:29

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