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Tobacco Control Office mulls smoking lounge standards

The Health Bureau’s Tobacco Control Office is considering new standards for smoking lounges as proposed by the city’s gaming concessionaires, Macau TDM reports.

Smoking lounges in casinos has been a subject of controversy over the last year, with the government’s health bureau appearing to have recently reversed its preference towards a full-smoking ban.

Last Monday, the government said it would mull suggestions regarding the possible retention of existing smoking lounges in local casinos after the results of a survey commissioned by the city’s gaming operators saw 55 percent of respondents in favor of smoking lounges.

Two days later, it proposed amendments to the smoking bill in line with the results of the survey, which included new standards for smoking lounges.

"We have carried out an evaluation after receiving a joint proposal from the gaming enterprises. We think what they suggested are stricter standards than what they have for now and we believe that it's doable, so we promise that we're going to consider this proposal very seriously," said Tang Chi Hou, head of the Health Bureau's Tobacco Control Office.

The new proposed amendments to the bill will see changes to the operation of VIP rooms in regards to smoking, as well as mass gaming floors.

Operators would also be required to request authorization from the Health Bureau in order to establish smoking lounges in their casinos.

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