|▲ Smokers light up their cigarettes at the entrance of the building, exposing passer-by exposed second-hand smoke.|
In parks and at bus stops and even in taxi cabs smokers are running out of places to light up as these are now designated as non-smoking areas.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced in July that smokers could face up to 100,000 won ($ 85) in fines if they violate these new smoking regulations.
With these hefty regulations issued, now smokers are being allotted no spaces within buildings to smoke and will have fewer places to smoke even outside.
Some non-smokers, who have constantly complained about smokers on the streets, are greatly welcoming this measure, saying that this ordinance protects the basic rights for pregnant women and children from second-hand smoke on streets and at other public spaces.
Meanwhile, one netizen, who has identified himself as a courteous smoker, posted a disappointing message on these new regulations.
“Before cracking down on violators, wouldn't it be better to increase the number of legal smoking areas that could also prevent smokers from thoughtlessly smoking in the presence of pregnant woman and children.”
It appears that Seoul isn't listening to this netizen and aims at pressing smokers by regulating their bad habits.
Around Seoul anti-smoking messages are running strong and seem determined to make smokers quit - banning cigarette advertisements in public areas, compulsorily posting messages that inform of the damage of smoking and increasing the price of cigarettes - sad to say, this has no effect at lowering the percentage of people who smoke.
And new ordinance, banning outside smoking and levy pretty large fines to violators, reflects they set their goal of reducing smoking rate.
Will regulating outside smoking places be more effective at reducing the smoking rate? Amongst smokers, most of them have turned their back on this hefty regulation.
One citizen, who has intensively resisted this new ordinance, said,
“Non-smoking movements are fine, but the decision should be up to the smokers, themselves. I think it is too harsh that the number of areas where people can freely smoke has dramatically decreased and now smokers can be punished with heavy fines.”
Another problem for smokers is that, in spite of imposing massive fines on careless smokers, it fails to make them abandon their habits.
It is bears further watching in the future whether the city of Seoul will manage to put a dent to overall smokers’ fundamental changes, or barely push smokers off by imposing heavy fines, crushing the enemy of pregnant women and children.
Smoking, inside Dongguk
Dongguk University (DU) has its own school regulations forbidding smoking inside buildings like many other universities. However it seems the fact is that not a few students light up cigarettes in toilet stalls, staircases and other hidden corners.
It assures that much of cigarette butts are regularly seen in the toilets of the main library, Hyehwa Hall, and Culture Center (K Building).
These smokers care little for the feelings of the irritated cleaning ladies who scurry around to sweep up leftover butts.
“It is a little journey from the main library to outside to smoke. Considering the structure of the library, I’d rather smoke in the toilet stall,”
a fellow smoker who requests anonymity said, adding that “I know it is violating school rules, but it is hard to resist against a temptation.”
Even though places that allow smoking in front of Wonheung Hall, Manhae Hall rebuild, smokers’ mood is far from satisfactory, hoping that many more places for smoking will be built.
The shortage of smoking places has left smokers to compete for suitable spots, causing those with no spots to light up and fume away at the entrances of buildings which often result in nasty smells meandering their way through the hallways of the entire building.
Perhaps it would be expose innocent passerby to be exposed to the inhalation of second-hand smoke, which is far more poisonous than the cigarette fumes inhaled by the smokers - containing more than 250 noxious substances. What seems like such a trivial issue to smokers, who comfort themselves with each fume of a cigarette, is not to non-smokers, who are flat out annoyed with their callousness.
|▲ Sungkyunkwan University recently sets up a small area which allows smoking at the 600th Anniversary Building.|
It is apparent that Dongguk has been preparing long and hard for changes in smokers consciousness and now it seems somewhat settled.
The student council has spontaneously posted numerous no-smoking signs in every washroom reminding us all to keep the manners of the campus.
No-smoking signs will be tacked onto the sight-catching walls in the new re-modeled washrooms in Wonheung Hall.
The council has also requested Dongguk to set more ash bins and ashtrays on the roof garden so that smokers will not grind their filthy cigarette butts under their dirty feet beside the well-cultivated garden.
More smoke-allowing places have also been constructed.
“In front of the Information and Culture Hall (Q Building), as well as Dongguk Hall, have already been set up for smokers to have places to smoke freely.
By this year, Hyehwa Hall and the Culture Center (K Building) will have newly designed rest places,” Park Gun, an Officer of Business Development Team added that, “After creating many resting sites, smokers will have their place to smoke and not cause others trouble.”
It remains to be seen whether the re-modeled places will fulfill the ever demanding needs of smokers and wane the competition between the slews of smokers who crowd the entrance of the gates with no respect to others.
What smoker needs most now are the fundamental changes in their mind from not be caught up by heavy fines, to caring for others who hate to inhale fumes making by careless behaviors.
Lee Jong-seok firstname.lastname@example.org
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