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Smoking Ban Bill for Restaurants Passes Updated: 2012-12-04 00:00:00 KST

Restrictions on smokers in Korea are on the rise.
Earlier this year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government banned smoking in thousands of areas around Seoul, with hefty fines for anyone caught lighting up.
Now the central government is spreading the regulations to towns and cities across the country.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced Tuesday that the revised bill to ban smoking at rest areas and restaurants was passed Monday and will go into effect Saturday.

[Reporter : ] "Starting December 8th…smokers will only be allowed to smoke in designated smoking areas at over 75-thousand restaurants."

Any restaurant over 150 square meters in area will be required to ban smoking on their premises.
Non-smokers were pleased to hear the news.

[Interview : ] "We were actually hoping this law would pass since we have a lot of female customers who don't like eating in a smoky environment."

[Interview : ] "Second-hand smoke is bad for our health. I believe that the government is doing the right thing by cracking down on public smoking."

Smokers, on the other hand, had a different reaction.

[Interview : ] "I don't think it's fair that we can't smoke in the restaurants any more. I don't think restaurant owners are even in favor of it."

[Interview : ] "It is very difficult to smoke outside, especially in this cold weather"

Those violating the regulations will be hit where it hurts the most, their pocketbook.
Premises that don't abide by the rules can be fined up to to five million won, or roughly 46-hundred U.S. dollars.
Individual smokers can be fined up to around 92 dollars.
And cigarette companies won't be getting off scot free.
They'll be prohibited from advertising their products as menthol, coffee or any other flavor from this Saturday.
Kim Hyun-bin Arirang News
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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