Expect clearer skies inside Shanghai’s airports next week after a new ban against smoking anywhere inside the terminals goes into effect.
And when they say anywhere, they mean anywhere. The airports’ indoor smoking rooms will be closed, replaced with new outdoor smoking areas, Eastday.com reports.
This appears to be the first swing in another impending crackdown on smoking across all indoor public venues. Back in 2010, Shanghai became the first mainland municipality to pass legislation banning smoking at all indoor areas of hotels, restaurants, airports, railway station and ports. However, venues were still free to set up designated areas for smokers.
Since this summer, the Shanghai government has been mulling going that extra mile and banning smoking outright at all indoor public facilities, and Shanghai Daily reports that more new rules are expected to come into effect later this year.
Of course, a ban is only effective if it is actually enforced. While smoking may be banned inside restaurants in Shanghai, you wouldn’t know that from a quick peek inside one. In a May editorial, the Global Times noted that only 26% of those polled saw the ban as effective, blaming that fact on some very poor oversight from the relevant departments:
Authorities from Shanghai’s health, culture, education, food, public security and even, transportation and housing management bureaus are all charged with the responsibility of enforcing the anti-smoking laws in public venues that fall under their specific jurisdictions. The efforts of each of these government organs are supervised by the Shanghai Municipal Health Promotion Committee, which is responsible for the campaign’s public relations.
Over the past five years since the law went into effect, staff from each of these bodies have made a total of 1.85 million collective visits to banned venues. According to the law, establishments that still allow smoking can be fined between 2,000 yuan ($32.23) and 10,000 yuan, and individuals caught smoking in banned areas can face penalties from 50 to 200 yuan if they do not agree to snuff out their cigarette.
However, in this same period these agencies have only collected roughly 1.5 million yuan in penalties from 770 establishments and 334 individuals along with 19,011 warnings. On the books that may make the campaign seem like a resounding success – the Health Promotion Committee can theoretically claim that only 1.08 percent of public venues across the municipality have failed to abide the law.
We’ll have to see if this ban is any different, but considering that a Sichuan teenager managed to make it past security at Pudong International Airport and stowaway on a flight to Dubai, it seems likely you’ll still be able to sneak a few smokes.
[Images via Shanghai Daily / Global Times]