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March 5, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

No-smoke patrol finds first violator

LOCAL cultural administrative authorities, making their opening moves to enforce Shanghai's new smoking-control law, found their first infractions at a Shanghai Gecheng KTV outlet on the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall.

The karaoke rooms were supposed to have no-smoking signs. Inspectors saw no signs.

Instead, the rooms had people smoking in them.

Inspectors ordered the KTV club to make renovations within a week. If the club doesn't measure up when officials make a second visit, the club can be fined up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,464).

The warning yesterday was the first one to be issued by the culture administration, one of nine branches of local government charged with enforcing the law that went into effect on Monday.

Under the new law, 12 kinds of facilities, including kindergartens, Internet bars and the interior areas of hospitals, must ban smoking completely.

Entertainment venues and restaurants with more than 75 seats or covering over 150 square meters must set up non-smoking areas.

Business owners must install non-smoking signs in places where smoking is prohibited and persuade smokers to quit or leave the non-smoking areas.

Officials from the KTV outlet said they had started to ban smoking throughout their company in late February and trained staff to warn people not to smoke inside chambers.

"We also removed ashtrays in the chambers," said Gao Meng, the outlet's chief.

That didn't go far enough, according to Zhu Yaoren, deputy director of the Shanghai Supervision Team on Cultural Market.

"As a non-smoking facility," Zhu said, "its staff failed to persuade people not to smoke inside chambers."

According to the law, business owners can be fined between 2,000 to 10,000 yuan for not fulfilling their duty. The fine can rise to 30,000 yuan if the violation is severe or repeated.

Li Ming, a member of Shanghai People's Congress and the draft writer of the Chinese mainland's first province-level smoking control law, said smoking control is a step-by-step procedure.

"Smokers need time to get used to smoking control," Li said.

"That's why our law targets smoking control instead of banning smoking. A tighter law without feasibility is not as good as a lenient but practical law," Li said.


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