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Seoul pushing to fine street smokers

Dec. 18, 2011 - 20:56 By Korea Herald
Seoul is seeking to expand its non-smoking zones to include sidewalks and pedestrian roads, city officials said Sunday.

The city council of the nation’s capital said it has introduced an ordinance on amending the current regulation that curbs second-hand smoking on streets. The ordinance is expected to reach the relevant standing committee at the council in February at the earliest.

Under the revision, the city’s non-smoking areas will include sidewalks and pedestrian pathways as defined by the traffic law.

The existing non-smoking rule, which levies a fine of 100,000 won ($86.50), came into effect earlier this year. In March, three major public squares in the capital ― one near Cheonggyecheon stream, Seoul City Hall and Gwanghwamun ― were designated as non-smoking areas. In November, 20 major parks across the city joined the list.

Starting this month, 314 bus stops on bus-only lanes also became non-smoking zones, with a three-month grace period before enforcement.

Officials said the smoking ban on sidewalks and pedestrian roads will also have a grace period.

Nam Jae-kyong, a Grand National Party member of the city council, said while the rights of smokers should be respected, the harmful effects of second-hand smoking are of even greater concern.

“More than 80 percent of Seoul residents supported the change in two surveys,” Nam said. “A similar ban is in place in Japan, and I don’t foresee major problems with passing the revision.” 

(Yonhap News)