'Smoke-free zone' goes into effect, affecting bars, cafes

News Desk in Seoul/The Korea Herald

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Thursday it would implement a new rule banning smoking at restaurants, bars and cafes.

The measure goes into effect after a six-month grace period that began in December. Bars and cafes larger than 150 square meters will be designated non-smoking zones from July 1.

Shops that violate the rule will face fines of 1.7 million to 5 million and individuals caught smoking in smoke-free zones will be given a 100,000 won (US$89) fine.

Internet cafes are also subject to the new rule, but will be given a six-month grace period.