Shenzhen pilots use of cigarette smoke detectors

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Holly Wang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily 

Maluan Subdistrict in Pingshan District has officially started using cigarette smoke detectors in restaurants, shopping malls, stations, Internet bars, schools and other nonsmoking areas, which is a new tobacco control practice in China.

By comparing clean air standards with those of the environment in which the detector is mounted, the cigarette smoke detector will notify law enforcers if someone has lit up in a nonsmoking area.

The detectors, which operate 24 hours a day, mainly monitor four indexes, namely PM2.5, PM0.3, PM5 and TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) in the air. TVOC, in particular, includes more than 1,400 chemicals such as alcohol, methanol, benzene and formaldehyde. A burning cigarette can produce more than 1,000 TVOC substances.

“By monitoring PM2.5, PM0.3, PM5 and TVOC over a short period of time, we can judge whether someone is smoking indoors,” said Yan Min, who is in charge of the design of the cigarette smoke detector.

According to Yan, the detector updates ambient air quality data every three seconds. Once the measurements go off the charts, it will transmit the data to the administrative computer in a timely manner. The detector also works for e-cigarette detection.

“After being notified that someone is smoking, we will send a text message to the venue operator and urge the latter to dissuade smokers. The data on the computer also enables us to monitor whether the venue operator has intervened,” Chen Shouren, deputy director of Maluan market supervisory authority, told reporters.

Five smokers were caught puffing on cigarettes during an anti-smoking raid in the subdistrict Monday night.

At about 7:30 p.m., the monitoring system showed that Linghang Internet Bar and one private room in Haotiandi Restaurant were heavily polluted with cigarette smoke.

Law enforcers subsequently found four illegal smokers in the Internet bar and one smoker in the restaurant. Each individual was fined 50 yuan (US$7) for smoking in a nonsmoking area in accordance with the city’s tobacco control regulations.

At present, 20 locations in Maluan Subdistrict have been selected as testing places to have cigarette smoke detectors installed.

“In the future, we will make the cigarette smoke detector smaller and develop voice prompts to remind and dissuade smokers once smoke from cigarettes is detected in public places,” Yan said.