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The amended law on promoting public health, which tightened rules on passive smoking, partially took effect at the beginning of July, making it mandatory that smoking will be banned “in principle” at public facilities accessed by vulnerable people such as minors, those who are ill and pregnant women. As a result, indoor smoking has been totally banned in such facilities as school buildings, hospitals and government offices. However, partitioned outdoor smoking areas continue to be allowed as an “exception.”

The implemented measures are a first big step in the effort to stamp out passive smoking, in that penalties will be imposed on malicious offenders, but much more can and should be done. While most hospitals and operators of schools from elementary to high school have made their premises smoke-free, many government institutions and universities still have designated outdoor smoking areas.

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