Shenzhen serious about smoking fines

| May 15, 2013

Smokers who violate tobacco smoking bans in China’s Shenzhen city are likely to face heavy fines in the future.

According to a Global Times story, proposed revisions to Shenzhen city’s tobacco control regulations, which were given a public airing yesterday, would see maximum fines raised from Yuan20 to Yuan500.

Business owners who failed to stop smokers violating bans would be fined up to Yuan30,000.

Wang Ke’an, director of the Beijing-based ThinktankResearchCenter for Health Development, was said to have told the Global Times that heavy fines were necessary, especially in ensuring that business owners prevented their customers from smoking.

The fines are just one indication that Shenzhen is becoming serious about enforcing anti-tobacco laws. The number of tobacco control enforcement agencies the city boasts has risen to 12 from one in 1998, the year in which public places smoking bans were introduced, and these agencies are spread across several government departments, including police, transport and education.

Meanwhile, Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of the ChineseCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times that the keys to enforcement were “supervisory channels and information transparency”.

The new heavy fines would serve their purpose only once there was a system in place for reporting violators and officials disclosed how reports were dealt with.
Wang said that efficiency would be improved as the different enforcement agencies started to watch over their own territories, though the question of how the law would be upheld equally by officers from all 12 agencies would still present a challenge.

But anything is better than nothing. In the 14 years following the introduction of smoking bans in 1998, no Yuan20 fines were imposed.

Category: Breaking News

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