In a recent interview, Hong Kong’s health minister, Professor Lo Chung-mau, suggested that disapproving stares from the public could discourage smokers from lighting up in public places. This suggestion has sparked a debate, with some people believing that it could be an effective way to reduce smoking rates, while others are skeptical.

There is some evidence to suggest that disapproving stares can be effective in discouraging smoking. For example, a study in Singapore found that smokers who were stared at by others were more likely to put out their cigarettes and leave the area. However, it is important to note that this study was conducted in a specific cultural context, and it is not clear whether the results would be replicated in other settings.

There are also some potential drawbacks to using disapproving stares to discourage smoking. For example, some people might feel uncomfortable or even harassed if they are stared at by others. Additionally, it is not clear how effective disapproving stares would be in the long term. Some smokers might simply ignore the stares, while others might become more defensive and resistant to quitting.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of disapproving stares in discouraging smoking is still unknown. More research is needed to determine whether this approach is a viable way to reduce smoking rates.

In the meantime, there are other evidence-based strategies that can be used to discourage smoking. These include:

  • Increasing the price of cigarettes
  • Banning smoking in public places
  • Running public awareness campaigns about the dangers of smoking
  • Providing smokers with help to quit smoking

By implementing a combination of these strategies, it is possible to create a more smoke-free environment.