One week in and still nobody fined for smoking at public sites, 01/09/10




VietNamNet Bridge – One week after smoking was banned in offices and public sites not one person has been fined for breaking the new rules. The law not being implemented is coming as no surprise. Nguyen Van Truong, vice head of the Hanoi Railway Station, said: “We ask passengers at the ticket booths or waiting areas to put out cigarettes. Some of them obey while some continue smoking”.

Outside these areas, the station’s guards cannot ask people to stop smoking. The ban is announced via the station’s loudspeakers but has had little effect.

Truong said the Hanoi Railway Station has not fined anyone because there is no mechanism to impose fines. “Our staffs don’t have the right,” Truong said.

It is the same at other public sites like Giap Bat and My Dinh coach station and even in hospitals.

Nguyen Viet Cuong, chief inspector of the Hanoi Department of Health, the agency with the power to fine smokers, said it is untrue that they can’t fine violators.

However he explains: “First of all, we have to use administrative measures. We can’t immediately fine them because many people come to Hanoi from other provinces and they say they don’t know about this ban. So firstly we have to communicate better and remind them.

“In cases where they intentionally violate the ban, they will be fined. There are two ways to collect the fines – paying the fines on the spot or a report of violation is filed and the violators pay the fine at the state treasury.”

Cuong says that if the second form is applied, violators will bring the report home and not pay the fine and then what? “We have suggested we apply on-the-spot collections of fine,” Cuong added.

He said that the Hanoi Department of Health is first implementing the ban at health agencies and then expanding to other places. He confirmed that any health worker breaking the new rules would be immediately fined.

We have inspected the Saint Paul and Thanh Nhan hospitals and health workers have seriously obeyed this regulation,” Cuong said.



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