Smoking ban in public places in Shanghai to be enforced

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-11 07:47

SHANGHAI: The city's ban on smoking in public areas will be enforced beginning March 1, a draft amendment to the anti-smoking law approved by the city's top legislature showed on Thursday.

Following months of debate and repeated revisions by the Shanghai People's Congress, the Shanghai Public Places Smoking Control Law now clarifies and expands its scope. The new law also imposes fines on establishments that fail to obey the restrictions.

Proponents say the law will better protect its citizens' lives and clean the environment.

The revisions to the law make the smoking ban more specific, giving a list of places affected. Smoking will be prohibited at places including kindergartens, schools, hospitals, stadiums, public service places, shopping malls, libraries, theaters and museums.

Entertainment venues, public areas of hotels, airports and train/port stations should ban smoking indoors and provide a separate smoking area. The law stipulates that all separate smoking areas or rooms should be ventilated. Public places must also have prominent signs indicating that smoking is prohibited.

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Government statistics show that 30.2 percent of residents in Shanghai smoke. The national rate is 35.8 percent.

Lawmakers attribute a lack of strict rules and lax management to a large number of smokers.

The existing smoking control law was carried out in 1994, which was mainly enforced in the medical departments.

Under the new law, places that fail to ban smoking could be penalized 2,000 to 10,000 yuan. In the case of a serious violation, they could be fined 10,000 to 30,000 yuan. Individuals who smoke in non-smoking areas will be fined 50 to 200 yuan if they will not agree to snuff out the cigarette.

"The city has been devoted to a healthy environment, and there is an urgent need for legislation for a definable smoking control law. It is also the collective suggestions of many legislators and health experts," Ding Wei, vice-director of the Law Commission of the Shanghai People's Congress, said yesterday.