Secondhand smoke is terrible, but good luck getting away from it when you visit an internet cafe in China. In recent years, restrictions on smoking have been passed on locations such as restaurants and net cafes, but even so, people still smoke. Now, in China's city of Wuhan, the authorities are cracking down.
In a public statement released by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Wuhan Municipality, smokers who smoke inside net cafes are in for a rude awakening.
According to the commission's plans, net cafes that seat up to 50 people are required to have at least one full-time staff member that is tasked with monitoring for smokers. Smokers who are caught can and will be fined upwards of $US80. Serious repeat offenders can be taken into police custody for upwards of five days.
Net cafes that do not enforce or adhere to the new rules are subject to fines of up to $US2400 as well. If a net cafe is found to be ignoring the regulations completely, they can also see their licence suspended or removed.
The commission has also taken into account those that obstruct the authorities from enforcing the rules — those who refuse to listen and create complications can be fined. They can also be subject to a longer detainment period.
This type of new regulation is something Chinese net cafes sorely need. Chinese internet cafes are smoky, incredibly smoky — despite the regulations already in place. Many internet cafes will have a sectioned-off smoking area, but because of a lack of enforcement, smokers smoke anyway.
In 2012, my friend Andy Lee got into a fight in an internet cafe with a Chinese man who refused to stop smoking. They were sitting in the non-smoking section.
Hopefully this new push for a cleaner gaming environment will stick and maybe move to other parts of the country. Lord knows I can only wear my gas mask indoors so much before public security pays me a visit.
武汉严厉打击网吧吸烟 严重者将拘留 [Wuhan Comission via QQ.com]