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End draws near for city smokers

STUBBING out his cigarette, a middle-aged man outside a government building under a "No Smoking" sign was asked to leave by officials this morning.

From March 1, he'll be among Shanghai's smokers facing fines of 50 yuan (US$7.30) to 200 yuan for smoking in banned areas as the city enacts its first anti-tobacco law.

Today the city enrolled the first of 20,000 volunteers to police the law, mostly from retired workers and neighborhood committees.

People who smoke in banned areas will be first warned by volunteers and officials of supervision departments, and will be fined if they refuse to stop, according to Luo Yu, an official from the local government office administration.

"We believe that with the help of the law and volunteers, more people will be protected from being endangered by passive smoking," said Li Zhongfa, deputy director of the Health Promotion Commission.

About 90 percent of local residents have been victims of passive smoking, while 74.6 percent of students have suffered passive smoking at home, according to Li.


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