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Hong Kong (China)

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Introduction

China became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on October 11, 2005. Hong Kong, as Special Administrative Region of China, is bound by China’s ratification of the treaty.

Smoke Free Places: In Hong Kong, smoking is prohibited in indoor public places and workplaces. The only exceptions to the smoking ban are: hotel rooms, designated areas in airports and correctional/detention facilities, and tasting rooms in cigar shops. Public transport is smoke free with one limited exception: if a bus or taxi is hired as a whole by a private party, smoking is allowed in the vehicle.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship:Tobacco advertising is broadly banned under the law.  The law provides a list of promotional practices that are prohibited, which allows for other promotional practices or leaves uncertain whether those other promotional practices are allowed. Sponsorship is permitted, provided that the words ‘cigarette,’ ‘smoking,’ ‘cigar,’ ‘tobacco,’ or ‘pipe’ are not used in the publicity of the sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Pictorial and text warnings are required for all packets and retail containers of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco.  The picture and text warnings must occupy 50 percent of both principal display areas (PDA); Chinese language on one PDA and English language on the other PDA. The government has issued 6 picture and text warnings, which must appear with equal frequency during any continuous 12-month period. Smokeless tobacco products are prohibited in Hong Kong. Misleading terms, descriptors, and other such signs suggesting that one brand is less harmful than another are prohibited.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371) is the primary tobacco control law in Hong Kong. The Ordinance covers many areas of tobacco control policy, including, but not limited to, public smoking restrictions; packaging and labeling of tobacco products; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and sales to minors. The Smoking (Public Health) Regulations (Cap 371A, 371B, 371D) were issued under the Ordinance and contain a schedule with a list of smoke free public transportation terminals (371D), and regulations on tobacco packaging and labeling (371A, 371B).  Penalties for smoking in public are set out in Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offenses) Ordinance (Cap 600).  Other penalties for tobacco advertising, promotion and sponorship and packaging and labeling requirements are contained in the Ordinance.

There are other laws that are not directly related to tobacco control but impact some aspects of tobacco control.  Specifically, the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations (Cap 374D) set forth the limited exception to smoking in taxis and buses when privately hired.  The Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132) contains a list of smoke free outdoor “public pleasure grounds” in Hong Kong. The Smokeless Tobacco Products (Prohibition) Regulations are issued under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. And the Aviation Security Ordinance (Cap 494) contains aircraft regulations, including prohibitions on smoking in aircraft.

Review Status

The Special Administrative Region’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff and verified by in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

Last updated: January 5th 2013
The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.