The city’s first smoking ban, which we followed from the time it was a wee bit of an idea to when it began being enforced against certain (underage) people, has officially taken effect for everyone today. The new law gives those who smoke in public places fines from 50RMB to 200RMB.
Much like the smoking clampdown Beijing experienced just before the Olympics, this Shanghai ban extends to 12 types of public venues, including schools, hospitals, supermarkets and elevators. It also requires karaoke bars, dance halls and restaurants to set up designated smoking and non-smoking areas.
Even though the ban IS now in place though, the chances of you actually being hit with that 50RMB to 200RMB fine are apparently pretty low. According to Shanghai Daily, the procedure for being fined is arduous:
One of the main problems is that the smokers can easily leave the scene long before the arrival of the law enforcement officials.
That is because neither the smoking-control volunteers nor the area’s supervision officials have the right to detain offenders even if they refuse to stop smoking.
All they can do is dial the public supervision hotline to report offenders, and wait for the law enforcement units to take over the case and determine the fine, but the whole procedure is complicated and time consuming.
Li Guangyao, the deputy director of the Shanghai Health Promotion Committee Office, told City Weekend to keep expectations low, “We shouldn’t expect people to stop smoking totally after this regulation is launched.”
Still, officials feel that education about the ban would stop many from engaging in that public area drag. As one smoking controller said, “I don’t think the law was mainly aimed at fining the offenders, but more like a warning to them… The law helps to create an anti-smoking atmosphere in public venues and encourages people to police themselves.”