SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – A video showing a driver smoking a cigarette while refueling her car at a self-serve gas station has led the government to tighten safety measures. However, there’s currently no system in place to prevent smoking at gas stations.
Gas stations aren’t even designated as smoke-free areas as per the National Health Promotion Act, which is overseen by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. This act primarily focuses on promoting health rather than ensuring safety.
The Public Health Promotion Act allows local governments to designate no-smoking zones based on specific characteristics and conditions but aims to prevent harm from smoking and promote residents’ health.
In May, a YouTube channel shared a video of a woman, likely in her 20s, smoking while refueling her car. More recently, a man in his 20s was caught smoking at a self-service gas station, and he even got into an argument with the gas station owner.
While the law prohibits the use of lighters at gas stations, it’s ironic that smoking itself is not completely banned by law. Therefore, it appears that the law needs some revisions.
Under the Enforcement Rules of the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act of Korea, machines and devices that produce flames, like lighters, are banned at gas stations. Violators can be fined up to 5 million won.
In response, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced unannounced fire inspections at self-service gas stations nationwide in June, along with guidance on accident prevention and initial response tips.
As of the end of last year, there were 5,272 self-service gas stations, making up 44.4 percent of the 11,878 gas stations across the country. However, this rule only addresses the use of lighters at gas stations and not smoking itself, so there’s no legal basis for discouraging the risky practice of smoking while pumping gas.
This contrasts with regulations at LPG stations, where smoking is prohibited under the Safety Management and Business of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act.
In the U.S. state of Virginia, state law classifies smoking or using an open flame within 20 feet (about 6.1 meters) of a refueling tank as a third-degree misdemeanor. It becomes a first-degree misdemeanor if it results in a fire or explosion, as reported by the Legislative Research Service.
In Singapore, smoking at gas stations is punished with a hefty fine or up to six months in jail under the law.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)