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Shanghai to step up anti-smoking campaign

By WANG HONGYI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-03-01 22:24

Internet cafes, entertainment venues and restaurants remain the three worst places for implementing the city's smoking ban in public places, according to a report.

The report was released by Shanghai health promotion committee at a news conference on Thursday, ahead of the third anniversary of the city's smoking ban.

Shanghai's anti-smoking law took effect on March 1, 2010, under which 16 public venues such as hospitals, schools, bars and restaurants, are required to establish designated non-smoking areas and put up signs prohibiting smoking.

But examinations during the past two years showed that Internet bars, entertainment venues and restaurants were the worst places for complying with the law, according to Li Guangyao, vice-director of the committee.

"Despite strengthened work in supervision and publicity in 2012, these three places still saw a higher smoking rate than previous year," he said, referring to a two-month city-wide drive to enforce compliance with the smoking ban in public places, which was carried out by the health promotion committee and other departments in November 2012.

The results showed that the prevalence of smoking in Internet cafes was 54.4 percent, 46.1 percent for entertainment venues and 25.7 percent for restaurants, increasing about 0.3 to 0.4 percent than in 2011.

The prevalence of smoking in public venues was measured by examiners in spot checks, who spent 15 minutes in those public venues listed in the ban to see the rate of people lighting cigarettes.

Li said 90 percent of fined public venues and individuals in 2012 were from those three types of venues.

In 2012, a total of 192 public venues and 101 smokers were fined about 348,000 yuan for flouting the city's public smoking control law, according to Shanghai Health Promotion Committee.

Besides that, 86 employees in the city's public transportation industry were fined 4,500 yuan for violating the industry regulation on the smoking ban.

Li said the worry of losing customers among business owners may be the major reason for the high prevalence of smoking in Internet bars and entertainment venues and restaurants.

But the proportion of business owners who persuade people not to smoke dropped in 2012 by 6 percent to 47.7 percent, according to the committee.

Li said the committee will team up other departments to carry out more supervision and publicity work in those three types of venues.

Since March 1, 2010, a total of 270 public venues and 111 smokers were fined about 530,800 yuan in 2012 for violating the city's public smoking control law, according to Shanghai health promotion committee.

Under the anti-smoking law, supervisors will first warn people who ignore smoking bans, and those who don't stop smoking will be fined around 50 to 200 yuan.

Health authorities said they will carry out broader publicity education on the harm of smoking and passive smoking, and encourage more volunteers to join in the effort to curb smoking.

Over the past three years, around 40,000 volunteers have participated in the anti-smoking campaign in the city.

In addition, officials also said they will work out ways to control smoking in local parks, which are not listed among the 16 types of public venue where the anti-smoking ban is enforced.

"So far, parks fall outside the scope of the smoking ban for public venues. But many elderly people and small children are often seen in parks doing exercises or playing there," Li said.

Li said they will explore effective ways to control smoking, such as selecting a specific area in the park and establish smoking corner there, or putting up no-smoking signs.

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