By 2020, smoking inside will be banned in Seoul

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By 2020, smoking inside will be banned in Seoul

Smoking will be completely prohibited in all indoor facilities in Seoul by 2020 as part of efforts to promote public health and protect the environment, the municipal government said yesterday.

Under the slogan “Smoke-Free Seoul City,” the metropolitan government announced comprehensive policy measures to discourage smoking in the city.

In accordance with World Health Organization regulations, the city said it will push for a complete ban on smoking in indoor facilities used by the general public, including restaurants and bars, regardless of their size.

Currently, smoking will not be allowed in facilities larger than 150 square meters (1,614 square feet) under a law that goes into effect on Dec. 8.

The city also decided to raise fines for indoor smoking from the current level of up to 30,000 won ($27.53) to 100,000 won.

To curb second-hand smoke on streets, smoking will be banned at more than 9,000 public places, or one-fifth of the city’s total land area, by 2014, including 1,910 public parks, 5,715 bus stops and 1,305 school zones, the city said.

The city wants to lower the smoking rate among male adults from the current level of 44.2 percent to under 29 percent, the average among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It will set up more public clinics to help smokers give up tobacco and urge the central government to raise cigarette prices.

“Smoking harms everybody as it affects nonsmokers and creates social troubles such as with adolescent smokers,” Seoul’s Vice Mayor Kim Sang-bum said.

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