For­eign­ers feel Shang­hai’s big Expo ban was just smoke and mir­rors

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - Global Times

n 2010, as Shang­hai pre­pared it­self to re­ceive mil­lions of vis­i­tors for the World Expo 2010, city au­thor­i­ties in­tro­duced a smok­ing ban to much fan­fare. It was part of a raft of poli­cies aimed at im­prov­ing the city’s im­age for vis­i­tors from across the coun­try and, in par­tic­u­lar, over­seas.

The move was met with much skep­ti­cism, but no smok­ing signs be­gan ap­pear­ing in public venues and ash­trays were put be­hind coun­ters. A hot line was even set up to re­port trans­gres­sions of the new reg­u­la­tion.

How­ever, with the fi­fi­fi­five- year an­niver­sary of the ban com­ing up this week­end, the rules are still patchily en­forced. The Global Times took to the streets to ask for­eign vis­i­tors and res­i­dents what im­pact they think the ban has had, if any.

Lou, tourist, France

I have been in Shang­hai for a week and I did not re­al­ize there was any kind of smok­ing ban here. In my hos­tel they don’t al­low smok­ing in the bed­rooms, but it is fi­fifine in the com­mon area and the bar. I only smoke when I’m out, andd at all the bars I have been to, it has been fine. Sure, it can get a bit smoky, and I feel bad for the staff. But ev­ery­one seems to smoke here any­way. We are get­ting tough on smok­ing in France, there are many re­stric­tions and more com­ing. Although not ev­ery­where fol­lows them, it is far bet­ter than in Shang­hai!

Adam, in­tern, the US

It re­ally an­noys me to see peo­ple smok­ing where they shouldn’t. Some­times I get into the el­e­va­tor in the morn­ing and there’s some­one smok­ing in there. Once it hap­pened, I asked the guy to stop and pointed at the no smok­ing sign, and he com­pletely ig­nored me. And this was in an el­e­va­tor! It's not like he was very con­vinc­ing. so there needs to be more en­force­ment and more penal­ties for peo­ple who ig­nore the rules. But I don't see it hap­pen­ing any­time soon. It’s been five years al­ready and noth­ing’s changed!

Mar­ija, stu­dent, Croa­tia

I’m a smoker but I sup­port the ban. I think hav­ing to step out­side to smoke surely makes

youy smoke less.l Also, likei it is a kind nice of lit­tle breakb – or it can be a good ex­cuse to es­cape a con­ver­sa­tion you don’t want to have. But yes, it’s hor­ri­ble get­ting home from a night out and the next morn­ing your clothes and hair stink of stale smoke. I don’t know if I’m go­ing to quit any time soon, but a smok­ing ban can’t hurt. Of course, I mean a real one – not like the one in Shang­hai that ev­ery­one ig­nores!

Rich, teacher, the UK

Of course it is pos­si­ble that peo­ple will abide by a ban, but what is needed is strict en­force­ment, and of course re­spect for the law. Here, ev­ery­thing seems ne­go­tiable and no one takes any no­tice or con­fronts any­one who breaks the rules. If you re­ally want some­thing, you have to sup­port it fully. Maybe Chi­nese peo­ple don’t re­ally want a smok­ing ban.

Tony, teacher, the UK

I re­mem­ber the days in the UK be­fore the smok­ing ban in pubs there. No one thought it would work, and it was very con­tro­ver­sial but boom – it was like overnight. It worked. And peo­ple by and large have stuck with it. It seemed in­cred­i­ble back then, but now it is just taken for granted. And I have to say it is so much nicer in pubs. But here, even in bars that have no smok­ing signs ev­ery­where, peo­ple still smoke. It’s a joke re­ally. Ac­tu­ally, I don’t even re­ally no­tice it any more. So it takes a while to ad­just when I go back home to the UK.

Pho­tos: nipic. com

The fi­five- year an­niver­sary of the smok­ing ban in Shang­hai comes up this week­end.

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