The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Wednesday that the latest amendment to the National Health Promotion Act banning smoking within 10 meters of kindergartens and day care centers will go into effect Dec. 31.
The act aims to protect children from secondhand smoke, the ministry said.
Cities and districts are required to place signs notifying the public of the smoking ban, and those caught violating the ban will be slapped with a fine of 100,000 won ($88).
The Health Ministry has been expanding smoking ban zones over the last few years, with a complete ban on smoking in all bars, restaurants and cafes in place since the beginning of 2015.
In 2017, 12.7 percent of 10,000 people surveyed said they were exposed to secondhand smoke at indoor workplaces, a large drop from the 47.4 percent who reported the same in 2013, according to the Health Ministry.
The number of people exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor public places also dropped by more than half to 21.1 percent from 58 percent during the same period.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)