Following mounting calls for improving public health and a clean environment, the Korean government as well as local governments, Seoul included, have imposed an increasing number of smoking banks in recent years.
Current Smoking Bans
- Bus stops, parks, plazas, within a 50-meter radius of schools (Seoul) – Fine W100,000
- The smoking ban applies also to PC rooms and other game facilities. Smokers who violate the ban are liable for a fine of W100,000 while shop owners can find themselves having to pay up to W5million.
- Public buildings such as daycare centers, commercial complexes, government offices, hospitals, libraries – indoors and outdoors, including parking lots, rooftops and gardens (all Korea). Building owners required to install a smoking unit outside, 10 meters away from the building.
- As of January 2015, smoking is banned in all bars, restaurants and cafes regardless of size, including any smoking rooms. Viiolators are fined W100,000 (smoker) or up to W5million (owner).
- As of April 2016, smoking is banned in areas within 10 meters of subway exits in Seoul,as well as on the sidewalks of the city's major roads. The fine for violating the ban is W100,000.
- The media have reported that disguised authorities secretly check various venues at random times to see if anyone is violating the ban
- Citizens are also encourage to report violators by calling or texting a hotline (Seoul 120).
- Re the subway and sidewalk smoking bans, Seoul is giving smokers a 3-month grace period during which violators will not have to pay the W100,000 fine.
- Smoking may be allowed in ventilated smoking booths that are completely separate from where food or drinks are served.
- Warning message have increased in size and will be more graphic
- Tobacco companies can no longer brand flavoured cigarettes – no more names such as as menthol, mojito, cherry, aroma, coffee and apple, etc.
- Words such as 'light', 'mild', 'low tar' or 'pure' are no longer permitted on cigarette packaging.
- Price of cigarettes almost doubled in early 2015 and lawmakers are discussing pegging the price to the rate of inflation.
- The government has been discussing a ban on any form of advertising of cigarettes in convenience stores as well as the possibility of making tobacco sponsorship of cultural or sports event illegal.
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Last Updated on 2016-05-08
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