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December 11, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Many hospitals still not enforcing smoking ban

ALTHOUGH Shanghai's anti-smoking campaign is gradually working after a smoking ban was imposed for public places in March, more than 40 percent of hospitals and medical institutes have been found to be breaking the new regulations.

Fifty-two hospitals, in a series of spot-checks since October, have been warned and told to rectify the poor control of non-smoking areas, said a local legislator's report yesterday.

In contrast to that, 72 percent of public venues are following the smoking control law as an earlier report showed, but 42.9 percent of hospitals were found littered with cigarette butts and people smoking in smoke-free areas.

The situation appears to be worse at children's and women's hospitals and health centers where no designated areas are available to smokers.

Smokers were caught in eight out of the 18 checked.

"The law-breaking rate could actually be higher," said the report, because volunteers and officials were on undercover visits and they could not enter wards and offices.

Wide-reaching ban

The smoking ban applies to 12 types of public areas, including schools, hospitals, supermarkets and elevators and karaoke bars.

Dance balls and restaurants are required to set up smoking and non-smoking areas. Individual offenders may face fines of 50 yuan (US$7.50) to 200 yuan under the Shanghai -Public Places Smoking -Control Law.

But Zhu Minghua, a deputy to the Shanghai People's Congress, said: "It's common to see people smoke in public areas." And she believed it was due to the light punishment or, in some cases, the lack of fines entirely.

"We should have more checks, and fine the individual offenders, even if it's the first time they have been caught," said Zhu.

The report also pointed out that hospitals should keep an eye on their doctors, as some of them were fined 200 yuan for breaking the smoking regulations in the checks.

Next year, taxis and the elevators in high-rise buildings will be the main focus of the monitors, as the city will have regular checks on the implementation of the no-smoking rule in public areas every three months until -September 2012.

Cabbies sometimes smoke inside their taxis when they have no -passengers, especially late at night, officials said.


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