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January 19, 2012

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Better enforcing of smoke law sought

LOCAL legislators are seeking to expand enforcement of Shanghai's no-smoking law this year, especially inside government office buildings.

Legislators said yesterday that local watchdogs fined 63 businesses and four individuals last year with penalties totaling 151,850 yuan (US$24,047).

The businesses were fined because they failed to set up non-smoking areas or stop smokers who lit up, while the individuals refused to stop smoking even when asked.

Legislators said they plan to increase non-smoking areas inside local cafes and entertainment sites and that the no-smoking provision inside taxis will also be reinforced this year.

Random checks and law enforcement at schools and hospitals for women and children will be increased to make them totally smoke-free, according to the lawmakers.

About 84 percent of local medium-sized to large restaurants have completed setting up smoking and no-smoking zones as required by the law. About 11 percent of the restaurants have banned smoking.

The watchdogs discovered 546 restaurants that failed to follow the anti-smoking rules and fined 17 of them for repeat violations. And 214 Internet cafes were warned to fix their no-smoking compliance, with four being fined.

In one case, the watchdog found the service crew inside an Internet cafe on Xishan Road turned a complete blind eye to customers smoking inside. It fined the management 1,000 yuan.

By the end of last year, 39,000 locals had volunteered to randomly check and persuade others to stop smoking in the banned public spots. Legislators said a survey showed 54 percent of smokers could now be persuaded to stop smoking in the prohibited zones, improving from only 19 percent before enforcement of the local tobacco-control law.

The law took effect in March 2010. Now about 90 percent of the public reports knowing about the law, with 85 percent showing support.


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