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April 16, 2011

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Smoking ban failing in taxis

MOST taxi drivers are failing to carry out the city's smoking ban as only 40 percent of cabs are smoke-free, authorities said yesterday.

Shanghai Patriotic Health Campaign Office organized three days of random checks and found only 40 percent of cabbies were strictly enforcing the ban. The office added that more than 80 percent of cabbies are aware of the smoking ban and 70 percent of taxis do not smell smoky inside.

The office also found that 30 percent of passengers who smoke in taxis do not butt out their cigarettes even after asked to do so by drivers. About 60 percent of cabbies ask people not to smoke inside the car.

Li Zhongyang, deputy director of the office, said taxis will be the main target of their inspections in the second half of the year, and they will offer more training to drivers and impose harsh punishment on law-breakers.

Li said university campuses, especially male dormitories, are another place where smokers are found flouting the ban. Cigarette butts were found at dormitories and toilets on campuses they checked, Li said.

Primary and middle schools achieved high scores during inspections carried out secretly by volunteers and officials.

Still, schools in suburban areas have received complaints for not creating smoke-free campuses, which Li said was likely the result of school heads' ignorance of the smoking-control law.

During the first three months of this year, 3,576 entertainment and sports venues were checked. Of these, 128 had been ordered to improve their anti-smoking campaign while four were fined a total of 17,000 yuan (US$2,600). The office did not reveal more detailed information.

Medical institutes, government buildings, shopping centers and supermarkets did better - only 55 of the 9,784 inspected venues were ordered to improve and two fined 4,000 yuan.

The city's smoking ban applies to 12 types of public places, including schools, hospitals, supermarkets, elevators and karaoke bars.


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