Beijing adding 40,000 smoking inspectors

April 25, 2008 at 7:35 AM

BEIJING, April 25 (UPI) -- Beijing officials announced a campaign Friday to hire 40,000 inspectors by May 1 to enforce a smoking ban in public places.

There are already 60,000 inspectors in the city, Sun Xianli, an official with the Patriotic Health Campaign Committee, said at a news conference at the Olympic media center.

"The idea is that the inspectors should provide a good example by not smoking in their own venues," Sun said.

Inspectors don't have the authority to issue fines, but can report venues where smoking is allowed, Sun said. Those sites can be fined $700 by the city, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Venues covered by the ban include office buildings and hotels. It does not apply to restaurants, bars or massage parlors.

Li Lingyan, deputy director of the city's legislative office, said a 12-year-old law on public smoking is being rewritten and toughened.

"Beijing authorities are determined to introduce a blanket ban on smoking at all indoor public venues," she said.

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