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Smoking to Be Strictly Prohibited in HK Public Housing Estates
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Smoking will be banned in all public rental housing estate common areas from April, the Hong Kong Housing Authority said on Monday.

Warnings will be issued to smokers during the April 1 to 9 grace period, after which penalty points will be allotted under the Marking Scheme for Estate Management Enforcement.

Up to now, a total of 19 penalty point allotted cases have been recorded for smoking or carrying lighted cigarettes in the estates' enclosed common areas, such as lifts and corridors.

Smoking areas will be designated in the estates, and Estate Management Advisory Committees will be consulted on the number and locations of these smoking areas.

There will be more than 50 teams comprising over 100 experienced department front-line staff and security guards patrolling different estates, in addition to local estate management staff, according to a spokesman of the Hong Kong Housing Department.

To ensure that people are well informed of the new rule, patrolling staff will be giving out flyers to people smoking within estate boundaries to remind them of the total smoking ban a week before the new rule is implemented. No-smoking signs will also be prominently displayed at estate entrances and strategic spots.

To improve environmental hygiene in public housing estates, the Housing Department has implemented the Marking Scheme for Estate Management Enforcement in Public Housing Estates in 2003. When 16 points have been recorded within two years, the tenancy will be liable to termination.

(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)

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