Government considers keeping smoking lounges

    Macau’s government is considering a proposal to keep smoking lounges inside its casinos, foregoing a full smoking ban, local media reports.

    The announcement was made by Alexis Tam, secretary for social affairs and culture during a plenary meeting of the Macau Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

    Tam said the amendment of the bill was put forward by a working committee of the city’s Legislative Assembly.

    The amendments would see “stricter standards” imposed on smoking lounges, he said.

    In October, chairman of the second standing committee of the Legislative Assembly, Chan Chak Mo and Health Bureau director Lei Chin Ion promised that a final decision on the smoking ban would be made by the end of this tenure of the Legislative Assembly.

    “What we strive to do is to see this bill approved before the current legislative term ends in 2017,” said Lei in October.

    Lei added at the time that the department had yet to decide whether to allow smoking rooms in casinos, saying that it remains a contentious issue.

    “We are still collecting opinions regarding whether to have smoking lounges inside casinos, and are now studying this subject,” Lei told reporters.

    The full smoking ban bill, which passed its first reading the Legislative Assembly this year, initially proposed to prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of gaming venues.