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Smoking ban at Seoul squares effective

Seoul City’s anti-smoking campaign in downtown squares, which kicked off this month, is largely being obeyed, with the total number of violations standing at just 15 as of Monday.

The city banned smoking at three plazas in central Seoul from June 1, imposing a fine of 100,000 won ($92) on smokers. The three squares ― Chunggye, Gwanghwamun and Seoul Plaza ― are frequented by about 30,000 people every day.

After five smokers were fined on the first day of the campaign, the number of daily violations was one or two on average, the city said.

Chunggye Plaza saw the largest number of violations with 12 cases, while there were two cases in Seoul Plaza and one in Gwanghwamun Plaza.

Despite complaints that the fines are almost double those imposed for other misdemeanors, most citizens seem to welcome the new measure, officials said.

“We will keep up the ban until no fines are collected,” said Lee Sung-young, the city’s director of health promotion.

The city plans to expand no-smoking outdoor areas next year to include all bus stops, neighborhood parks and areas within 50-meters radius of schools.

By Lee Ji-yoon (
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Korea Herald daum