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Smoking banned in all indoor public sites, workplaces from March as city passes law

SHANGHAI will extend its smoking ban to all indoor public venues, indoor workplaces and public transport sites from March 2017, the city’s top legislative body said today.

That means the ban on smoking would be imposed at all the hotels, restaurants, offices, airports and railway stations and even entertainment venues, according to the city’s new smoking control regulation which was approved by the standing committee of Shanghai People’s Congress today.

Hotels cannot categorize smoking or non-smoking rooms, while restaurants and entertainment venues cannot set up smoking areas. The meeting rooms, canteens and offices of government agencies will also ban smoking. The airports, railway stations, ferry ports and bus stations will shut down all the smoking rooms, according to the regulation.

The new regulation also extend the smoking ban on outdoor areas to public venues for minors, such as primary schools, kindergartens and training institutes, children’s hospitals, historic venues, stadiums and public transport waiting areas. Performance areas like stages and audience areas will also be smoke-free.

“The regulation aims to take a stricter control on smoking and extend the smoking ban areas to protect the public from second-hand smoking,” said Ding Wei, deputy director of the congress’s legislation department.

The current regulation, which was introduced in 2009 ahead of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, stipulates that star-rated hotels, restaurants, airports, railway stations and ferry terminals could set up smoking areas or smoking rooms. Hotels were allowed to categorize their rooms into smoking or non-smoking.

Considering the feasibility of the new regulation and avoiding the “walking smokers” on streets, the regulation has added that outdoor smoking spots can be set up near the public venues, workplaces and transportation hubs, Ding said.

However, the outdoor smoking areas must be away from the public and major passageways and have signs saying “Smoking is harmful to health.” Facilities to collect cigarette ash and butt must be arranged. They will also have to be approved by the city’s fire prevention authority, the regulation says.

Fines for breaking the new laws are unchanged at 50-200 yuan (US$7.34-US$29.4) for individuals and up to 30,000 yuan for companies.

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