By Michael Evans
Image credit: Jonathan Kos Read.
A recent survey has found that Shanghai’s anti-smoking law is routinely flouted despite tough on-paper penalties, with smokers lighting up in 54 percent of internet bars and 46 percent of entertainment venues (KTV parlors, bars, etc.) despite laws forbidding it.
Since 2010, smoking has been banned in 16 types of public places, including hospitals, schools, and restaurants. Those found violating the ban are first given a warning, after which they can be fined from 50 to up to 200 yuan.
This year, authorities say they plan to increase publicity for the city’s anti-smoking campaign and enlist more volunteers, as well as extend the official smoking ban to parks.
Other cities have taken tougher measures. Last September, revisions to a similar law in Guangzhou dispensed with the warning, promising an automatic fine to anyone caught smoking in a prohibited area. But even then, many residents complained that the ban was routinely ignored and rarely enforced.