Smoking prohibited in Seoul’s parks

Smokers who are caught lighting up in Seoul’s major city parks will be fined 100,000 won ($93) beginning in December, when a stricter anti-tobacco rule goes into effect, the city government said yesterday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government last month revised a city ordinance to designate 20 city-operated parks as nonsmoking zones to heighten public awareness of the health risks of secondhand smoke.

Man-made stream in Seoul Forest Park

Man-made stream in Seoul Forest Park

The new rule will go into effect after a three-month grace period, officials said.

The move comes after the city government implemented a smoking ban in major public squares in downtown Seoul in June.

Excluding two ecological parks and three smaller parks located near large roads, the city government will set up 34 smoking sections inside the other 15 parks to allow visitors to smoke in designated areas, they said.

“Unlike public squares, parks have large areas and visitors stay longer,” a city official said. “The city will establish smoking zones in major parks, considering that designating the whole area of city parks as nonsmoking zones excessively infringes upon smokers’ rights.”

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