How Korean Net Cafes Are Fighting a New Smoking Law

In South Korea, PC bangs (net cafes; "bang," or "방" stands for "room" in Korean) are a big part of the country's gaming scene. And for better or worse, so is smoking.

Lots of Korean gamers smoke. Many don't! But those who do are now finding themselves unable to enjoy a cigarette while enjoying a computer game at their local PC bang. Last month, a new law was passed in South Korea that banned smoking in net cafes.

As GameMeca reported earlier this year (via tipster Sang), PC bang owners pleaded their case against the law, saying that at least 40 percent of net cafes would go out of business if it were passed. Amid protests, the law ended up being passed, but PC bang owners got a six-month extension to comply.

Now, PC bang owners think they have found a loophole: There are new "smoking rooms" popping up in South Korea that offer you a place to smoke while giving you "free" access to a PC. The sign in the top image reads, "Smoking Room, 1000 won per hour. PC use is free." The image below reads, "Smoking Room."

How Korean Net Cafes Are Fighting a New Smoking Law

So, these spaces are technically not net cafes, but rather places people pay to smoke in. The rooms are outfitted with the necessary ventilation to accommodate smokers. Outside these smoking rooms are signs that advertise the specs of the computers available for use.

Apparently, there aren't laws against operating "smoking rooms", putting them outside of regulation. However, an article on website Naver claims that the Korean government will not permit these smoking rooms to continue. So, for the time being, smoke if ya got 'em.

‘흡연방’ 내걸고 “PC이용 공짜”… 금연정책 비웃는 PC방의 꼼수 [Naver Thanks, Sang!]

Photo: Seoul.co.kr

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