SEOUL: South Korea will move to ban smoking in public places, both indoor and outdoor, from 2011 in a bid to reduce the country’s smoking rate, the health ministry said Wednesday.
According to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, the government is aiming at bringing down the nation’s smoking rate from 47 percent at present to 20 percent in the target year.
The ministry also said to take measures to allow regional governments to implement anti-smoking policies, as well as launching a concerted campaign at schools and military installations to limit cigarette purchase.
Despite recent reduction in the number of smokers among the general population, the number of students and soldiers who smoke has not gone down, the ministry added.
The Seoul government has prohibited smoking in large buildings for several years but it is the first time to take actions on outdoor smoking even in areas where large numbers of people gather.