In recent years many countries have enacted anti-smoking legislation. For example, on 1 January 2007 Hong Kong extended no smoking areas to cover the inside of restaurants, as well as offices and some public outdoor areas (Tobacco control, 2007). While these laws have been largely welcomed by both health advocates and the general population, they have had some unintended consequences including an increase in cigarette litter and congestion in areas where smokers congregate, and a decrease in working efficiency in workplaces with significant numbers of smokers. This essay will examine these effects in more detail before considering some possible solutions.
One of the outcomes of preventing office and shop workers from smoking in offices and shopping centres is that smokers are more likely to gather on pavements in the area near the entrance to the office building or mall. The assembly of these smokers has produced an increase in litter, with waste such as cigarette butts and packaging often discarded on the street. Novotny and Zhao (1999) argue that this litter is plainly observable, may remain in the environment for a long time and might be hazardous to young children and animals if ingested. Given the densely packed office environment in the central business district of Hong Kong, it is apparent that the litter problem from smokers who smoke outside can be quite serious.
As well as the littering problem, groups smoking on pavements can pose a physical danger to young children. Nakahara (2005) mentions that children are often at a height where they can be easily struck by smokers holding lit cigarettes. As the head of the child is often only at leg level to the adult smoker, the burning cigarette could easily harm the eye or other facial features of the child. It is suggested...