Beijing public smoking ban begins – BBC News

Public smoking in China‘s capital, Beijing, is now banned after the introduction of a new law.

China has over 300 million smokers and more than a million Chinese die from smoking-related illnesses every year.

Smoking bans already existed in China, but have largely failed to crack down on the habit.

These tougher regulations, enforced by thousands of inspectors, ban lighting up in restaurants, offices and on public transport in Beijing.

Analysis: Martin Patience, BBC News, Beijing

Smoking in China often seems like a national pastime. The country consumes a third of the world’s cigarettes. More than half of men smoke. It’s seen by many as a masculine trait – women, in contrast, rarely smoke.

A common greeting among men is to offer a cigarette – the more expensive, the better. A carton of cigarettes also remains a popular gift.

Anti-tobacco campaigners say many smokers are simply unaware of the health risks of their habit. They accuse the authorities of being addicted to the tax revenues generated by cigarette sales and therefore not warning smokers about the dangers.

But now there are signs the government has changed its mind. In the past, China’s leaders such as Chairman Mao and his successor Deng Xiaoping were rarely seen without a cigarette in hand. But the current President Xi Jinping has bucked the trend: he’s quit. And he’s also banned officials from smoking in public in order to set an example.

via Beijing public smoking ban begins – BBC News.

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