Bei­jing sees 2,719 fined over smoke ban

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than 2,700 peo­ple in Bei­jing have re­ceived fines for il­le­gal pub­lic smok­ing since the city in­tro­duced China’s tough­est tobacco con­trol reg­u­la­tion 18 months ago.

A to­tal of 2,719 peo­ple were fined a to­tal of 142,500 yuan ($20,700) be­tween June 1 last year, when the reg­u­la­tion took ef­fect, and Nov 30 this year, the Bei­jing Com­mis­sion of Health and Fam­ily Planning, the city’s top health au­thor­ity, an­nounced on Tues­day.

Health law en­force­ment of­fi­cers also levied to­tal fines of more than 1.8 mil­lion yuan on 663 premises’ own­ers for fail­ing to ap­ply the reg­u­la­tion, the com­mis­sion said.

“We have main­tained in­ten­si­fied ef­forts in the fight against il­le­gal pub­lic smok­ing in the past year and a half,” said Wang Ben­jin, deputy chief of the Bei­jing Health In­spec­tion Bureau.

More than 1,000 of­fi­cers from the bureau, a pri­mary force for health law en­force­ment in Bei­jing, in­spected more than 127,000 busi­ness own­ers since June 1 last year, and stopped 5,300 peo­ple from smok­ing in pub­lic places, he said.

The reg­u­la­tion bans smok­ing in all in­door pub­lic ar­eas and work­places, and a num­ber of out­door ar­eas, in­clud­ing schools, seat­ing ar­eas in sports sta­di­ums and hos­pi­tals where women or chil­dren are treated.

Vi­o­la­tors face fines of up to 200 yuan ($32), while own­ers of build­ings clas­si­fied as pub­lic places, such as restau­rants, face fines of up to 10,000 yuan if they al­low peo­ple to smoke on their premises, the reg­u­la­tion states.

The per­cent­age of peo­ple found smok­ing in pub­lic places had been re­duced from 11.3 per­cent be­fore the reg­u­la­tion to 3.8 per­cent at the end of last year, the com­mis­sion said.

En­ter­tain­ment venues such as in­ter­net cafes, karaoke TV rooms and restau­rants are still the venues where il­le­gal pub­lic smok­ing is most likely to oc­cur, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by Bei­jing’s health author­i­ties in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, which was re­leased on Tues­day. The sur­vey found that more than 40 per­cent of in­ter­net cafes were found to con­tain cig­a­rette butts.

The sur­vey also found that 73 per­cent of taxis in Bei­jing do not have “no smok­ing” signs, and nearly one-quar­ter of taxi driv­ers al­low pas­sen­gers to smoke in their ve­hi­cle.

With tem­per­a­tures drop­ping in Bei­jing, the num­ber of peo­ple smok­ing in in­door pub­lic places may in­crease. The city’s health author­i­ties will in­ten­sify law en­force­ment over the next few months to pre­vent a resur­gence of il­le­gal pub­lic smok­ing, said Mei Hong­guang, an of­fi­cial with the com­mis­sion’s health pro­mo­tion depart­ment.

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