• June 12, 2024

Smoking ban preparations

Shanghai photo
Photo by hans-johnson

Political advisers in Shanghai, China, have proposed that the city learn from other cities about publicizing a tobacco smoking ban that will take effect in five weeks, according to an Ecns.cn story.

From March 1, all public indoor venues and work areas, as well as some outdoor areas, such as those at art performance and sporting venues, those at maternity hospitals, infant hospitals and kindergartens, and those around bus stops, will become non-smoking zones.

But the current anti-smoking notifications in the city are far from enough, said some local political advisers during their annual gathering last week.

“In Singapore, smoking bans with pictures, such as broken cigarette butts and children covering their mouths and noses surrounded by smoke, are very commonly seen in the streets to gain people’s attention,” said Wang Xinmei, a member of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Shanghai’s political advisory body.

“Beijing also did a good job informing the public of its smoking ban, which became effective in June 2015. On all the flights and trains bound for Beijing there are repeat broadcasts of the smoking ban, which seems powerful, and Shanghai can learn from that,” said Wang, who is also chairwoman of the Jinshan district branch of the city’s political advisory body.

Gwan Tat-cheong, another political adviser in Shanghai, said Shanghai might look to Hong Kong where smoking in indoor public places has been prohibited since 2007. Publicity surrounding the smoking ban was ubiquitous in public venues and on different communication channels throughout the city, and the notifications highlighted also the cost that violators faced. “It always states clearly that errant smokers can be slapped with fines of HK$1,500 ($193),” said Gwan, who is also a senior adviser at the Bank of East Asia (China) Ltd.

And, apparently, Shanghai does intend to crack down from the start. Individuals caught smoking tobacco in places forbidden to smokers will be fined from 50 to 200 yuan, and organizations that fail to stop smokers will be fined up to 30,000 yuan, according to the new regulations.

“Any new regulation, such as the citywide fireworks and firecrackers ban since the beginning of last year, faces challenges when it first comes into being, but it’ll become easier when a consensus is formed in the whole society,” said Wu Fan, director of the Shanghai Center for Disease Control.