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Sweeping Smoking Bans Set for Year`s End

Posted April. 25, 2009 05:54,   


Smoking will be banned as early as this year in all public areas and inside buildings.

The Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry said yesterday that it will designate 16 types of public facilities as non-smoking areas under a government roadmap on anti-smoking policy.

The facilities where smoking will be banned are large buildings; performance halls; private academic institutes; large sales outlets; lodging facilities; schools; indoor sports facilities; medical institutions; social welfare centers; public transportation venues; public bathhouses; game arcades; large restaurants; comic book stores; government buildings; and childcare facilities.

The wide range of non-smoking facilities will mean a virtual smoking ban in all public areas.

Only three types of public facilities are designated smoke-free: school buildings excluding universities, medical institutions and childcare facilities. Other facilities have designated smoking areas, while smoking banned in offices, conference rooms, halls and lobbies.

Game arcades, comic book stores and restaurants allow smoking as long as over half their floor sizes are designated as smoke-free zones, but the plan is to ban smoking at those places completely.

The ministry plans to revise the Public Health Promotion Law to make public facilities smoke-free. Public facilities can separate smoking areas from non-smoking areas, but will be required go to smoke-free completely.

“Most lawmakers sympathize with the intention of the law revision so the bill will likely pass the National Assembly in the June session,” a ministry official said. “If passed, the law will take effect in December after a six-month grace period.”