People smoke outside an exhibition hall in Shanghai on March 1, when the city's smoking ban took effect. (Gao Erqiang/China Daily)
More than 100 people in Shanghai have been punished for violating the new smoking ban, which took effect on March 1.
In the first month since the implementation of the regulation, law enforcement departments visited more than 30,000 public venues, with 277 venues and 115 people punished for violating the rule, and fines totaling 605,800 yuan (,000) handed out, according to the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission.
In March, law enforcement departments at the city and district level worked together to carry out large-scale inspections, especially in commercial areas, office buildings and crowed public places. Venues and individuals failing to adhere to the new regulation were punished, the commission said.
In addition, law enforcement departments carried out inspections based on the characteristics of various venues. For example, star-rated hotels, entertainment venues, libraries, cinemas, arts venues, community cultural venues and other public cultural venues were inspected during their peak times.
The commission said it was organizing intensified law enforcement activities during the second week of April.
"We will continue to strengthen the joint work with different departments, and also study the challenges facing law enforcement. The role of joint work between society and government should be fully recognized," said Zhang Meixing, deputy director of the commission.
In 2010, the city started to limit smoking in some indoor venues to designated areas, including in restaurants, entertainment venues, railway stations and airports.
The new regulation prohibiting smoking at all indoor public venues and work areas in Shanghai, which took effect last month, is a step toward strengthening efforts to control smoking. It extended the smoking ban to artistic performance and sports venues, open areas at maternity and infant hospitals, and bus stops.
Under the regulation, individuals caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined from 50 to 200 yuan and organizations that violate the regulation or fail to stop smoking will be fined 2,000 to 30,000 yuan.
"The new regulation is much tougher than before. There are many places now where people are not allowed to smoke. For a smoker, it might be seen as inconvenient, but the measure will gradually be accepted," said Lao Xuchen, a Shanghai resident.