People smoke at an outdoor designated smoking area on Dongfang Road in Shanghai. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

Authorities in Shanghai are considering whether to extend the public smoking ban to parks to further tighten tobacco control in the city.

According to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Landscaping and City Appearance, the ban will first be piloted in a park that has yet to be designated. It added that the ban could eventually be implemented at all public parks in the city.

Last March, Shanghai became the third Chinese city following Beijing and Shenzhen to ban smoking at all indoor public spaces and offices.

Data from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning shows that more than 88 percent of indoor public places have adhered to the smoking ban. In addition, less than 6.7 percent of public areas in the city permit smoking.

Authorities have also stepped up efforts to reinforce the ban. Official data shows that 1,133 public places were fined a total of nearly 2.6 million yuan ($410,200) while 415 people were fined 31,600 yuan last year for flouting the regulations. The amount of fines received in 2017 was nearly equivalent to the combined total from 2010 to 2016.

Some experts have pointed out that the authorities need to complement the public ban with efforts to help smokers quit the habit.

“More people are smoking outdoors since the ban on indoor spaces,” said Fu Hua, a professor at the Public Health School at Fudan University. “Smoking is addictive and hard to quit. Regulations, law enforcement and health education are important in the bid to attain a clean, smoke-free environment.”

Data from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning shows that the smoking rate in the city experienced a sharp decline last year from 25.1 to 16.3 percent.


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