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  • Successive spokesmen of Municipal Government :
    Jiao Yang
  • Successive spokesmen of Municipal Government :
    Chen Qiwei
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City looking to technology to catch smokers
03.05.2012

SPECIAL cigarette smoke detectors and PM2.5 indoor monitoring devices are expected to be installed in public places covered by the city's anti-smoking law, officials said yesterday.

The idea is to get more tech-nical support for the smoking-control campaign, said officials from the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission.

"We want to adopt indoor PM2.5 measurements to teach the public about the harm of smoking," said Tang Qiong of the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission, which is in charge of smoking control in the city.

PM2.5 refers to fine particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter. They pose major health risks as they are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs and even enter the bloodstream, leading to premature death and long-term diseases. It is believed to be a major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

"Experiments found PM2.5 levels in non-smoking restaurants are only half of those which don't ban smoking," Tang said. "Separation of smoking and non-smoking areas can bring better air quality, but is far from restaurants completely banning smoking."

Special cigarette smoke detectors will be able to detect smoke and send an alarm to the business owners and authorities.

"In addition to the cost of the machines, the current difficulty is how to locate the violators and impose punishment," Tang said. "We are still discussing the legal issue, as data collected from machines can't be used as evidence for penalty."

Internet cafes, entertainment venues and restaurants are the three places with the biggest smoking problems in the city, the commission said.

Though the city launched its first anti-smoking law two years ago and the authorities stepped up supervision, enforcement of the law fails to meet people's requirements, said officials.

"We fined 12 public places and five individuals some 20,000 yuan (US$3,175) in 2010, while 66 units and five individuals were fined 157,750 yuan last year, reflecting the stricter monitoring," said Li Zhongyang, the commission director.

"The possibility of business staff advising people not to smoke in banned areas dropped from 2010's 54.1 percent to last year's 53.7 percent for fear of losing customers," Li said.