The number of illegal smoking cases in Shanghai has fallen by over 30 percent since a ban in indoor venues and on public transport was introduced on March 1, authorities said.

Between March and June, 115,200 venues were inspected, with 732 venues and 291 individuals fined 1.68 million yuan ($259,000) for breaches of the city's smoking regulations, the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission Office said yesterday.

During the inspection, only 7.6 percent of venues were found to have waste containers for smokers to use, 9.6 percent fewer than in 2016.

There was no sign of cigarette butts at more than 89 percent of venues, up 5.3 percentage points from last year, the office said.

A survey of more than 34,000 workers at 1,793 venues, found 94.9 percent aware of the city's smoking regulations.

Over 99 percent said they supported a complete ban of smoking indoors.

However, officials also found evidence of smoking at transport hub parking lots, toilets at public venues, office buildings, entertainment venues and small restaurants. And they said the inspection could not cover some hidden areas such as corridors, stairwells and elevators in residential buildings.

The officials said efforts would be stepped up with intensified inspections at office buildings, hotels, entertainment venues, cinemas, art and cultural venues, and on public transport.

Police will also conduct thorough checks at Internet cafes and bars across the city, while airports and railway management authorities will enhance smoke-control management and education of passengers and staff.

These stricter checks will also cover catering businesses at shopping malls, the office said.

Elevators and office buildings are the new hotbeds of smoking, according to some residents.

"I always smell cigarette smoke left by others at elevators of residential buildings, which makes me feel uncomfortable," said Yang Lei, a bank worker living in Minhang District.

"The smell is strong and is difficult to disappear due to the small space."

Kevin Liu, a travel agency worker, said there was a strong smell of smoke in the toilets and corridors at his office building.

"It is difficult to catch or stop smokers because they are colleagues," he said. "At small restaurants, some diners still smoke while restaurant staff turn a blind eye."

The new regulation allows for smoking areas to be set up near public venues, workplaces and transport hubs.

Fines for breaches of the regulation are 50 to 200 yuan ($30) for individuals.

Law enforcement officers can fine individuals and companies on the spot if anyone is caught smoking in no-smoking areas. The public is encouraged to report offending behavior to the 12345 hotline.

Owners of public venues are required to ask customers to stub out their cigarettes.

If customers refuse, owners should report offenses to law enforcement agencies, or face fines of up to 30,000 yuan, according to the regulation.


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