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October 22, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Smoke ban puts focus on children

CITY lawmakers are expanding the scope of total bans on smoking in the latest draft of Shanghai's first public tobacco control law.

Increased emphasis has been placed on minors endangered by passive smoking.

The law, with fines for offenders, is expected to be enacted before the end of this year, well ahead of the start of the Shanghai World Expo next May.

The latest version of the draft released to the media yesterday has incorporated suggestions from a public hearing held last month.

Many at that hearing called for clarification of the law's enforcement mechanism.

Lawmakers have now decided to make the Health Promotion Commission the chief overseer.

The commission will coordinate and supervise government departments to ensure the law is enforced.

Under the latest draft, a total smoking ban will apply to all children's activity centers.

Liu Yungen, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress, said yesterday at a round of talks over the legislation that middle schools should also face total bans as updates on the draft continue.

The draft in its present form only bans smoking indoors at middle schools but has a total ban inside and around kindergartens, children's care centers and primary schools.

Liu said students at middle schools should receive the same protection.

"Teachers should not smoke anywhere at a middle school complex," Liu said.

"Their public behavior influences students. Teachers should be good role models."

A middle school teacher had suggested at the public hearing that the law allow some designated smoking rooms for educators.

The teacher said it would be embarrassing for him to be seen by students smoking in the grounds of his school.

The smoking teacher's idea has been dismissed but lawmakers have heeded another suggestion to enforce total bans in Internet cafes.

A leader of the city's Internet cafe business told lawmakers at last month's hearing thatit would be impossible toset up separate smoking rooms in the facilities.


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