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April 7, 2016

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Public to have its say on new smoking ban

THE city’s vice mayor yesterday announced the launch of an official fact-finding mission in preparation for an extension to the ban on smoking.

Under proposals detailed earlier this year, the restriction on smoking indoors will be extended to all public venues, workplaces and public transport facilities, while selected outdoor venues, including parks, tourism spots, hospital grounds and places where children congregate, will be added to the list of restricted areas.

In a bid to garner public opinion on the proposals, officials will visit airports, railway stations, restaurants and hotels across the city over the coming weeks, said Vice Mayor Weng Tiehui.

The stricter rules are expected to come into force before the city hosts the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion — an event co-organized by the World Health Organization — in November.

The research is part of the city government’s determination to “improve the health of its citizens,” he said.

At present, a total ban on smoking is enforced at just 13 types of public area, including primary schools, kindergartens and children’s hospitals. Under the revised regulations, it will also apply to airports and railway stations, which currently provide designated smoking areas.

He Jijun, an official with the Shanghai Airport Authority, said that while it might take some time for travelers to get used to the new rules, they will nonetheless be strictly enforced.

“The penalties need to be severe and law enforcement officers must do their jobs effectively,” he said.

The current penalty for those who violate the smoking ban is a fine of between 50 (US$7.70) and 200 yuan, and a debit on their personal credit record. Government officials can also be given administrative punishments.

At tourist attractions and other outdoor areas, smokers will be restricted to lighting up only in designated areas.

To help enforce the new rules, teams of volunteers will be recruited to work with law enforcement officers, Weng said.

The wider restrictions on smoking will bring Shanghai in line with Beijing and Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, which introduced similar bans in 2015 and 2014, respectively.


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