South Korea - smoking ban just about everywhere by end of 2009..

April 26, 2009 - Tobacco smoking is to be banned in many public places in South Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) where previously it was the subject of restrictions, according to a Dong-a Ilbo (East Asia Daily) report.

The Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry has announced that it will designate 16 types of public facilities as non-smoking areas under a government roadmap on anti-smoking policy: large buildings; performance halls; private academic institutes; large sales outlets; lodging facilities; schools; indoor sports facilities; medical institutions; social welfare centers; public transportation venues; public bathhouses; game arcades; large restaurants; comic book stores; government buildings; and childcare facilities.

A ministry official was reported as saying the new restrictions were likely to be passed by the National Assembly in June and, if so, to come into force by the end of the year (2009). Smoking will be banned as early as this year in all public areas and inside buildings.

The wide range of non-smoking facilities will mean a virtual smoking ban in all public areas.

Only three types of public facilities are designated smoke-free: school buildings excluding universities, medical institutions and childcare facilities. Other facilities have designated smoking areas, while smoking banned in offices, conference rooms, halls and lobbies.

Game arcades, comic book stores and restaurants allow smoking as long as over half their floor sizes are designated as smoke-free zones, but the plan is to ban smoking at those places completely.

The ministry plans to revise the Public Health Promotion Law to make public facilities smoke-free. Public facilities can separate smoking areas from non-smoking areas, but will be required go to smoke-free completely.

The local Korean tobacco industry is led by KT&G (Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corp), British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and JT International while KT&G held the lion’s share again in 2007. In January 2008, Woori Tobacco Corp officially entered the market by launching its Wigo branded products. In 2006 KT&G was the dominant player in the Korean cigarette market with 80% market share. More - Tobacco in Korea.

South Korean steelmaker Posco, which employs 16,000 people, want to be smoke-free by the end of year.

Reference: Sweeping Smoking Bans Set for Year`s End,, 4/25/2009.

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