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Smoke-free environments

Protecting people from tobacco smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, which kills over 1 million people every year and causes heart disease, cancer and many other diseases. Even brief exposure can cause serious damage. Studies show that pollution levels in indoor places that allow smoking are higher than levels found on busy roadways, in closed motor garages and during firestorms. Scientific evidence has established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability to non-smokers. Among newborns exposed either in utero or after birth, there is an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight and a doubling of the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Creating completely smoke-free indoor public places through smoke-free legislation is popular wherever it is enacted, and these laws do not harm business. Any country, regardless of income-level, can implement effective smoke-free legislation. Only a total ban on smoking in indoor public places, including all indoor workplaces, bars, restaurants and public transport, protects people from the harms of second-hand smoke, helps smokers quit and reduces youth smoking.

Source :

Smoke-free policy in Korea

Legal Basis

Article 9 of the National Health Promotion Act

  • (Measures for Non-Smoking) Facilities and spaces for public use shall be designated as non-smoking areas to prevent damages caused by smoking and to protect the right to be free from smoking.

Status of Designation and Management of Non-Smoking Areas in Korea

Non-Smoking Areas according to Article 9 of the National Health Promotion Act

  • Article 9, Paragraph 4: Creation of a smoke free environment in indoor places for public use
  • 1.

    Office buildings of the National Assembly

  • 2.

    Office buildings of the Government and local governments

  • 3.

    Office buildings of courts under the Court Organization Act and institutions affiliated to such courts

  • 4.

    Office buildings of public institutions under the Act on the Management of Public Institutions

  • 5.

    Office buildings of local public enterprises under the Local Public Enterprises Act

  • 6.

    Schools under the Early Childhood Education Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (including school buildings, playgrounds, and whole premises)

  • 7.

    School buildings of schools under the Higher Education Act

  • 8.

    Medical institutions under the Medical Service Act and public health clinics, medical care centers, and branches of public health clinics under the Regional Public Health Act

  • 9.

    Childcare centers under the Infant Care Act

  • 10.

    Facilities for youth activities, such as youth training centers, youth training establishments, youth cultural halls, specialized youth facilities, youth camps, youth hostels, and facilities for youth under the Youth Activity Promotion Act

  • 11.

    Libraries under the Libraries Act

  • 12.

    Children’s amusement facilities under the Act on the Safety Control of Children's Amusement Facilities

  • 13.

    Private teaching institutes for school curriculum and private teaching institutes with a total floor area of at least 1,000 square meters, among private teaching institutes under the Act on the Establishment and Operation of Private Teaching Institutes and Extracurricular Lessons

  • 14.

    Waiting areas, boarding areas, and pedestrian underpasses of airports, passenger wharfs, railroad stations, bus terminals, and other transportation-related facilities, and charged transports with a seating capacity of at least 16 passengers for transporting passengers or cargoes

  • 15.

    Buses for transporting children under the Motor Vehicle Management Act

  • 16.

    Office buildings, factories, and complex buildings with a total floor area of at least 1,000 square meters

  • 17.

    Places of public performance under the Public Performance Act with at least 300 seats

  • 18.

    Superstores established and registered pursuant to the Distribution Industry Development Act and shopping malls in an underpass, among shopping malls under the aforesaid Act

  • 19.

    Tourist lodging facilities under the Tourism Promotion Act

  • 20.

    Sports facilities under the Installation and Utilization of Sports Facilities Act with a capacity of at least 1,000 spectators and indoor sports facilities used for sports facility business prescribed in Article 10 of the same Act

  • 21.

    Social welfare facilities under the Social Welfare Services Act

  • 22.

    Public baths under the Public Health Control Act

  • 23.

    Juvenile game providing businesses, general game providing businesses, businesses providing Internet computer game facilities, and combined distribution and game providing businesses under the Game Industry Promotion Act

  • 24.

    Rest restaurants, general restaurants, and bakeries with a serving area not smaller than the area specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, among food service businesses under the Food Sanitation Act, and automats with an indoor resting space not smaller than the area specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, among food subdivision and sales businesses under the same Act

  • 25.

    Comic book rental businesses under the Youth Protection Act

  • 26.

    Other facilities or institutions specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health and Welfare

Article 9, Paragraph 5: Non-smoking area designation for multi-family housing by the request of at least 1/2 of residents

If at least 1/2 of the households residing in a multi-family housing prescribed in subparagraph 3 of Article 2 of the Housing Act requests the head of a Si / Gun / Gu to designate entire or part of the hallway, stair way, elevator and underground parking lot of the aforementioned multi-unit dwelling as a non-smoking area, the head of a Si / Gun / Gu shall designate the requested area as a non-smoking area.

Article 9, Paragraph 6: Non-smoking area designation for areas within 10 meters of a kindergarten or day care center

In order to prevent damage from smoking and improve health of residents, a Special Self-Governing City Mayor, a Special Self-Governing Province Governor, or the head of a Si/Gun/Gu shall designate each of the following areas as a non-smoking area and install a guide sign indicating that the designated area is a non-smoking area.

  • 1.

    An area within 10 meters of the boundary of a kindergarten facility pursuant to the Early Childhood Education Act (referring to an area provided for public passage and use).

  • 2.

    An area within 10 meters of the boundary of a child-care center facility pursuant to the Infant Care Act (referring to an area provided for public passage and use).

Article 9, Paragraph 7: Other non-smoking area designations as prescribed by the ordinance of local governments

If deemed necessary for preventing damage from smoking, and for improving health of residents, local governments may designate a certain area as a non-smoking area within their respective jurisdiction where many people gather or pass by, as prescribed by their municipal ordinance.

Designation of Non-Smoking Areas and Management Structure

Ministry of Health and Welfare

National Health Promotion Act

  • Non-smoking in public places
  • The authority to designate non-smoking areas other than those prescribed by the National Health Promotion Act shall be delegated to the head of the local government
Local Governments

Municipal Ordinance

  • Designation of non-smoking areas within respective jurisdictions
  • Appointment of Anti-Smoking Advisors to guidance and monitor non-smoking areas within the jurisdiction
National Tobacco Control Center
  • Monthly management of non-smoking areas and monitoring of enforcement results of no-smoking zone violations
  • Contribute to policy improvements through regular non- smoking area designation and management performance analysis
  • See TOBACCO CONTROL FACT SHEET No. 11 ‘Designation and Management of Non-Smoking Areas’