SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) – In an unusually tough anti-smoking move, one of Seoul’s main boulevards will be declared a no-smoking zone and violators will face fines, officials said Wednesday.
Seoul’s Seocho-gu Ward Office said Gangnam-daero, a 5-kilometer-long major boulevard that cuts through the busy commercial district of Gangnam in southern Seoul, and its sidewalks will be designated as a no-smoking zone starting April 1.
Violators will be fined 50,000 won (US$45), the office said, noting an enforcement team of 18 civil servants will stroll up and down the streets from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Seoul and South Korea as a whole have stepped up efforts to discourage smoking in public areas.
At present, people caught smoking within 10 meters of a subway entrance in Seoul are slapped with a fine of up to 100,000 won.
The Seocho district’s smoke-free zone is currently restricted to the vicinity of Gangnam Station, one of the capital’s busiest at the center of Gangnam-daero. Earlier in March 2012, the Gangnam Station area became the nation’s first no-smoking street.
A recent poll of 619 pedestrians on Gangnam-daero found over 80 percent of them supported the expansion of the no-smoking zone to the entire boulevard, officials said, adding the move is expected to reduce second-hand smoke as well as the smoking rate.