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GOVERNMENT POLICY REPORT

THE HONG KONG LIQUOR LICENSING ACT & HONG KONG SMOKING ORDINANCE

In this report, I will evaluate the effectiveness of the two Hong Kong Government Policies, The Hong Kong Liquor
Licensing Act and the Hong Kong Smoking Ordinance. I will look at what good the policies have had to the Hong
Kong community, how it has negatively impacted the local society and the success rates of both policies. I will
consider the opinions of the Hong Kong public services. Finally, I will mention how the chosen policies could be
improved in the long run, for both the people of Hong Kong and for the public service organisations.
THE HONG KONG LIQUOR LICENSING ACT
‘The Hong Kong Liquor Licensing Act’ created in 1997 with the aim of reducing numbers of underage drinkers
and alcohol-led crimes, has been greatly beneficial to the Hong Kong community by controlling the levels of
underage alcohol consumption. Implementing a need for establishments such as bars, clubs and restaurants to
obtain liquor licenses, has positively affected the community by allowing such establishments to reject the selling of
alcohol to minors. As shown through crime statistics and levels of alcohol-led injuries, the numbers of underage
consumption of alcohol has certainly decreased since the policy was brought forward. Crime rates as a result of the
policy has been steadily decreasing by over 200 cases year-on-year. This is shown on the Liquor Licensing Act
report, released by the Hong Kong government, which is available online.
On the contrary, the policy has also lead to some issues. In Hong Kong there are some establishments that serve
alcohol without being holders of the liquor licenses. These bars/clubs are often found on the upper floors of
buildings, situated far from the entrances. As these establishments don’t hold the liquor licenses, they often serve
alcohol to minors. This has been the cause of many health incidents, primarily amongst underage drinkers. Many
teenagers are found passed out on the staircases of buildings and slipping in hallways.
The success factors of the Liquor Licensing Act include; the reduction of crime rate as a result of implementation
(reduced by over 120 cases directly linked to alcohol year-on-year), and the decreased number of outlets across the
city serving alcohol to underage drinkers.
In the eyes of the local public services, there are mixed opinions. For the police, the policy is highly beneficial in
reducing levels of crime within the city, primarily in regards to crime at night. A decrease in crime rates leads to a
fewer number of police units having to dispatched to solve a minor, unnecessary problem. Juxtaposing that fact,
with the policy in place, police officers have the additional responsibility of checking establishments for licenses.
However, overall the policy is a benefit for the police force.
This policy is also a benefit to the health service as a reduction in alcohol-led crimes, means less fights. As a result
this means fewer ambulances needing to be dispatched for such situations, and less injuries to be treated. This is
beneficial as it decreases spendings for the health department.
Although there is a variety of success factors that has been achieved as a result of the policy being implemented,
there are some things that can be improved. Firstly, if the government are looking at majorly decreasing the
numbers of underage drinkers, then the government should bring fourth a requirement for all establishments that
sell alcoholic beverages to obtain liquor licenses, with the same terms that apply for bars and clubs. This includes
the term that such establishments may not serve alcohol to any individual under the age of 18. Limiting the number
of establishments that sell alcohol to minors can greatly decrease the numbers of underage drinkers in Hong Kong.
THE HONG KONG SMOKING ORDINANCE
‘The Hong Kong Smoking Ordinance’ was implemented in Hong Kong with the objective of reducing the number
of smokers in the Hong Kong region. This policy also controls the level of smoking in Hong Kong by placing
restrictions of smoking in places such as bars, restaurants and on public transportation. To date, the policy has
made a positve impact on the city as a whole by increasing the control measures of smoking. The policy made it
necessary for cigarette companies to place the negative impacts of tobacco and cigarettes on the packaging of their

products. The policy has allowed a decrease of 27% in the overall number of smokers in Hong Kong. It also stated
that cigarettes should not be sold to minors at any establishment, and as a result has allowed the overall number of
underaged smokers to decrease dramatically.
However, the several issues have emerged as a result of the policy coming into play. The policy unfortunately is not
struct enough to make a substantial dent to the smoking figures in the city, and will not be making smoking go
extinct anytime in the near future. With the wide scale of accessible locations where citizens can purchase
cigarettes and with the ease of purchase, it makes it very difficult for current smokers to quit. Another issue is that
cigarettes are relatively cheap (averaged at $52, inclusive of tax, for a pack of 20 cigarettes) in apposed to other
luxuries. The government even attempted to double tax cigarettes, and it made very insignificant difference.
The success factors of ‘The Hong Kong Smoking Ordinance’ include; an almost 30% decrease of smokers in the
region, fewer youth smokers in the city and a decrease in the number of smoking related illnesses.
In regards to the views of the Hong Kong public services, the policy has provided a range of different opinions. The
policy has been broadly beneficial to all the health services in Hong Kong as the number of smoking related
illnesses and diseases have decreased as a result of the policy being introduced. This means a decreased demand for
doctors and health services, lowering government spending. The policy has also been beneficial for the fire services
as cigarettes are the reason for many small-to-medium sized fires in Hong Kong. With the decreased number of
smokers, it means there are fewer still-lit cigarettes being thrown onto the streets to catch onto flammable
materials to cause fires. This reduces the number of fire engines and firefighters that have to be dispatched each
year. However, for the police there are were more responsibilities that came with the implementation of the policy.
Officers now have the role of ensuring that all cigarettes sold are displayed with health affects, that smoking is not
happening in restricted areas, and that cigarettes are not being sold to minors. This makes the job of a police
officer more difficult, and may have meant that the Hong Kong police had to strengthen, or even increase, their
force.
Overall, the policy has been effective in the sense that a sizeable percentage of smokers have quit as a result of the
policy being implemented. However, there is some room for improvement should the Hong Kong government wish
to further succeed. Primarily, the price of cigarettes needs to be increased in order for it to become less accessible
for all income groups. This will allow for a further increase in smoking quitters. In addition, the policy should once
again be amended to increase the number of smoking-restricted areas such as near schools, playgrounds, and other
areas that exposes smoking to minors.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Quitting Smoking: http://www.tco.gov.hk/english/quitting/quitting_ycqs.html
Smoking Ban in Public Places and Workplaces: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/health/addictions/smoking/
tobaccocontrol.htm
Smoking: http://wikitravel.org/en/Smoking
Wikipedia - Smoking ban in Hong Kong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Hong_Kong
UK alcohol-related crime statistics: http://www.ias.org.uk/Alcohol-knowledge-centre/Crime-and-socialimpacts/Factsheets/UK-alcohol-related-crime-statistics.aspx
Smoking in Hong Kong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Hong_Kong
The cost of diseases caused by tobacco in Hong Kong: http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CADAL/B38630497.pdf
Smoking Costs Hong Kong Over $5 Billion Every Year: http://tobacco.cleartheair.org.hk/wp-content/uploads/
2013/01/71_presentation.pdf
Legislation – Smoking Public Health Ordinance: http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/
6799165D2FEE3FA94825755E0033E532/FC20BFF93D75ADCC482575EE00764F46/$FILE/
CAP_371_e_b5.pdf
Free dictionary – light rail vehicle: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Light+rail+vehicles
Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Ordinance 2006: http://www.gld.gov.hk/egazette/pdf/20061043/
es120 06104321.pdf
Tobacco Kills: http://www.hkpf.org.hk/download/sche2014/Symposium%201.2%20Prof%20Sophia%20Chan
%20-%20Tobacco%20Campaign%20in%20Hong%20Kong.pdf
Focus HK: When the smoke clears: http://www.chinadailyasia.com/focus/2014-02/21/
content_15119846_2.html
GovHK – Tobacco Control: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/health/addictions/smoking/tobaccocontrol.htm
GovHK – Tobacco Control Legislation: http://www.tco.gov.hk/english/legislation/legislation_sa.html
Wikipedia – Smoking in Hong Kong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Hong_Kong GovHK –
International Symposium on Management of Tobacco Dependence: https://www.tco.gov.hk/english/event/
opening_address.html
Hong Kong Free Press - Proposed e-cigarette ban ‘unscientific and unethical’, expert says: https://
www.hongkongfp.com/2015/07/07/proposed-e-cigarette-ban-unscientific-and-unethical-expert-says/
http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/government/publication/consultation/docs/2011/Liquor_consultation.pdf
http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/features/71501/is-club-7-eleven-killing-hong-kongs-bar-scene.html
http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201311/20/P201311200384.htm
http://www.thecabinhongkong.com.hk/alcohol-violence-and-addiction-in-hong-kong/