Smokers still puffing away at Expo 2010

08:30, August 16, 2010      

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Despite organizers repeatedly appealing to smokers to allow Expo 2010 Shanghai to be a smoke-free event, smokers are in no mood to cooperate.

While some smokers endeavored to accede to the request, many claimed it has been difficult to find the designated smoking areas scattered around the 5.28-sq-km Expo Garden.

"There are no clear signs to direct me to the right places," said Zhang Lu, a visitor from Jiangsu province. "It is tough for people to walk a long way to find smoking areas, especially under the sizzling sun in such hot weather."

Some smokers also suggested that Expo organizers increase and enlarge the designated smoking areas in the Expo Garden.

"It took me nearly half an hour to find a smoking area," said Wang Changliang, a visitor from Beijing. "It is a nightmare for heavy smokers."

There are 43 designated smoking areas in the Expo Garden, most of them situated next to the toilets.

For most smokers, however, shelters and benches by popular pavilions with water jets nearby are the ideal locations to rest and have a cigarette.

As it is not permitted for lighters to be brought into the Expo Garden, smokers have resorted to a variety to methods to light their cigarettes, with the Shanghai Morning Post reporting that one desperate smoker even used reading glasses in an effort to harness solar power.

The most popular method used by smokers seems to be hiding lighters in bags and looking for a loophole in security while they enter the site. In some cases, matches and matchboxes were separately taken into the Expo Garden.

"I know it breaches the rule, but it is unpleasant if I cannot find a lighter when I need to smoke a cigarette," said a visitor, surnamed Li.

To encourage smokers to respect smoke-free zones, at the Expo, organizers improved the designated smoking areas by providing them with benches and more shelter from the sun.

Maintenance personnel were also assigned to patrol the designated smoking zones to ensure all facilities, including non-portable lighters, are in good working order.

In an effort to crackdown on smokers using smoke-free areas, organizers arranged for over 300 volunteers to patrol the Expo Garden since the end of July, attempting to dissuade smokers from lighting up outside designated smoking areas.

Source: China Daily(By Tang Zhihao)


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