Indoor Smoking Ban Starts in China

The Chinese regime launched a public ‘no smoking’ policy on Monday—that’s five years after it signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Under the new ban, people cannot smoke inside public spaces.

Business must display “No Smoking” signs and outdoor smoking areas must not adversely affect non-smokers.

[Li Fei, Beijing Resident]:
“Actually, I am a smoker but I support the ban on smoking in public places, especially in restaurants. Usually the air in restaurants is not that good and they are quite crowded. If there are people smoking then it’s very smoky and, sometimes, when I go out to eat with my wife I am not very happy with the atmosphere.”

But enforcement is going to be tough. China has about 300 million smokers who consume a third of the cigarettes produced in the whole world.

[Lu Ankang, Lung Disease Specialist, Shanghai Ruijin Hospital]:
“The result of the smoking ban greatly depends on the how strongly the ban will be enforced. If it is carried out in a strong manner, smokers will change their habits and start to quit smoking. There may be hope of yielding results through anti-smoking campaigns.”

Previous anti-smoking campaigns of the Chinese regime have not been very effective. In 2008, it pledged to limit indoor public smoking in Beijing, but those spaces remain choked with smoke and ‘no smoking’ signs are routinely ignored.

Another obstacle to enforcing the ban is that the ruling regime itself has a direct stake in the industry. Nearly 8 percent of the country’s revenue came from taxes and profits related to tobacco in 2009. The China National Tobacco Corporation is a state-owned cigarette monopoly, and the largest company of this type in the world.

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