China bans indoor smoking in capital

Beijing plans to go completely smoke-free in all indoor public places, and many outdoor public places, but implementation of the ban may be difficult

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Having estimated 300 million smokers, China aims to curb the unhealthy habit with a new and ambitious ban in the capital city. Beijing has banned smoking in indoor public areas, as well as some outdoor venues such as near schools and hospitals.

The ban came into effect on June 1, and violators will be fined 200 yuan ($32) but many believe the enforcement of the new law will be difficult due to corruption and lack of effective inspections.

The Chinese government has established a hotline to report offenders and venues that violate the ban repeatedly will be named and shamed on a government website, according to the Reuters news agency.

China had tried to implement a similar ban four years ago, but local media say it failed to curb smoking in a country where cigarettes are cheap and which has a powerful state-owned tobacco industry. The new law will also limit the advertisement of tobacco.

"It is unrealistic to absolutely abolish 'indoor smoking' since too many people smoke," Yang Gonghuan, former vice-director of China's centre for disease control, told the AFP news agency.

Over a million Chinese people die from smoking-related illnesses every year, according to the World Health Organization, which has welcomed the tougher regulations.

TRTWorld and agencies