Heavier Fines to Act as Deterrent to Smokers
During a hearing organized by Shenzhen’s legislature invited the public to comment on the proposed 500 yuan fine on people caught smoking in non smoking public places. The newly proposed fine is higher than the current fine of 20 yuan but a lot of residents believe that giving a bigger fine might not stop people from smoking in public due to enforcement problems.
The legislature is also thinking of imposing 30,000 yuan fine on operators of smoke restricted venues that doesn’t create a special smoking area or stop customers from smoking. A local lawyer said that enforcing the law on smoking is more important than levying fines. Ever since the city introduced the smoking regulations in 1998, nobody caught smoking in public has ever fined. Thus the city should look into revising the system to make sure that the fine will be fully implemented.
Based on the current regulations, there are twelve government departments involved in enforcing the smoking regulations leading to weak enforcement since it’s easy for these departments to pass the responsibility to other departments. Several officials agreed that the best bureau to enforce the law is the city urban management bureau since it is tasked to manage smoking in parks. Some say by giving a heavier fine might help draw people’s attention in the city’s effort in controlling smoking, while some say the fine is a deterrent to smokers and is copied from several foreign countries that levy heavy fines to people caught smoking in public.