SHENZHEN will continue enforcing its smoking ban in public places this year, targeting units that flout the tobacco control policies while commending those that have been issued smoke-free green labels.
Shenzhen's smoking ban, which took effect March 1, 2014 and is said to be the harshest of its kind in China, stipulates fines between 50 yuan (US$7.9) and 500 yuan for individual violators and up to 30,000 yuan for operators of nonsmoking venues that fail to comply with the ban, which was extended to all indoor areas Jan. 1 last year.
The city issued its first penalty for smoking March 8, 2014.
Over the past four years, law enforcement departments in the city have imposed fines of more than 3.3 million yuan on smoking offenders and 420,000 yuan on venue operators that failed to comply with the ban, statistics released by the city's tobacco control office show.
By Jan. 31 this year, nearly 650,000 law enforcement officers had been dispatched for inspections of public places, persuading more than 600,000 smokers and placing fines on 66,430 individuals. The law enforcers inspected 317,109 public places, with the operators of 4,533 venues being given warning or administrative penalties for violating the smoking ban.
Besides routine inspections, joint operations involving different government departments were also launched. Last year alone, five rounds of citywide spot checks were carried out, with inspectors raiding bars, KTV clubs, teahouses, and massage and bath parlors to persuade and pressure them into implementing the ban.
The city plans to boost its public support for the smoking ban in public places to more than 95 percent by 2020, reduce the smoking rate among people older than 15 to less than 20 percent, and lower the rate of illegal smoking in public places to within 10 percent.
Authorities say they will amend Shenzhen's anti-smoking rules and make more practical and feasible policies by referring to practices in cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The city aims to set up 11 smoking cessation clinics in line with national standards this year.
Meanwhile, the city's center for chronic disease control and prevention has suggested that sales of tobacco products be prohibited within 200 meters of primary and middle schools.