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March 1, 2013

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Smoking up at some venues despite law

LOCAL government fined 192 public venues and 101 smokers about 348,000 yuan (US$55,238) last year for violating the city's public smoking control law, said officials from the Shanghai Health Promotion Association yesterday, the law's three-year anniversary.

Internet cafes, entertainment venues and restaurants are still the three places with the most serious problems, and each saw an increase of 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points in smoking last year compared with 2011.

Prevalence of smoking in Internet cafes was 54.4 percent, 46.1 percent for entertainment venues and 25.7 percent for restaurants. Prevalence indicates the proportion of locations where smoking was detected in spot checks. The most fined public venues and individuals were from those venues.

Also, 86 employees in the city's public transportation industry were fined 4,500 yuan for smoking violations and five smoking Internet surfers were detained.

Local health officials said the prevalence of smoking will be included in regular evaluation of such businesses this year.

Shanghai Health Promotion Association, which leads local anti-smoking controls, said the likelihood that business owners would tell smokers not to smoke or that law enforcement would act dropped last year by 6 percentage points to 47.7 percent, the lowest in the last three years.

"Business owners' worry that strict smoking controls may drive their customers away is the major reason for the high smoking prevalence, and the government's law enhancement also lags behind," said Li Guangyao, vice director of the association's office.


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