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March 4, 2014

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City eyes total smoking ban in public places

THE city government is planning to introduce a total ban on smoking in all public places within five years, local health authorities said yesterday.

The standing committee of the Shanghai People’s Congress has included the comprehensive ban as one of its key legislation targets for the period, said Li Zhongyang, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Promotion Committee.

Efforts to introduce the ban should receive a fillip in 2016, when Shanghai hosts the Global Conference on Health Promotion, in association with the World Health Organization.

“It will be a great opportunity for Shanghai to push for a complete ban on indoor smoking,” said Tang Qiong from the Shanghai Health Promotion Committee, which is in charge of smoking control in the city.

“The event will help speed up the introduction of laws in the public health sector,” she said.

The standing committee will push ahead with its research, which will help the lawmaking body to amend the current smoking control legislation that was enacted in 2010, Li said.

The existing law bans smoking in most public places but there are exceptions in some indoor areas, he said.

Despite the difficulties involved in enforcing the law, 252 venues and 107 individuals were fined a combined 481,600 yuan (US$78,350) last year, which was a substantial increase from 2012, Li said.

Among those punished in 2013 were eight government agencies and four public sector workers — the first of their kind — who received fines totaling 47,200 yuan, he said.

To mark the fourth anniversary of the introduction of smoking controls in Shanghai, the health promotion committee will this month launch a campaign asking selected organizations and institutions for ideas on how to reduce the number of smokers in the city.

The committee will publicize the names of the participating bodies and plans to ask the public for its input on how best to implement their suggestions.

The health group also appealed to government agencies to ensure their premises are smoke-free.

Anyone who wants to report a violation of the smoking law should call the public hotlines on 12345 and 12320, Li said.


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