CHINA TOPIX

Updated 6:02 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 01, 2020

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Beijing Enforces Public Indoor Smoking Ban, Shanghai and Other Cities May Follow Suit

Beijing Smoking Ban

(Photo : Reuters/Jason Lee) Officials in the Chinese capital Beijing have started enforcing ban on smoking in all indoor places which includes public vehicles, offices, and restaurants since the beginning of the week, as authorities try to cut down the cost of treating people suffering from smoking-related illnesses.

Since the beginning of the week, residents of Beijing have been subjected to a strick ban on smoking in all public indoor places.  Some pundits have noted that the ban could easily be extended to other parts of the country as Chinese authorities try to cut down health care costs associated with smoking.

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According to FT.com, the smoking ban in the capital is reportedly intended to help curb the health care cost of treating smoking-related illnesses. China reportedly has the most number of cigarette smokers in the world - estimated to be at 300 million. More than 25 percent of Chinese adults have a smoking habit based on a survey made by the World Health Organization (WHO). Around eleven percent of the country's male population between the ages of 13 and 15 are regular cigarette smokers.

The government is reportedly keen to see the success of the smoking ban in hopes that the medical costs incurred in treating smoking-related illnesses will go down. Cigarette makers last year contributed around Rmb911 billion (equivalent to $146 billion). It has been reported that 6.5 percent of the country's national revenue comes from cigarette sales.  Around 98 percent of all cigarette sold in the country comes from the state owned China National Tobacco Corporation.

Despite the effects the smoking ban is likely to have on profits, Chinese authorities are bent on cutting down the number of patients with smoking-related diseases.  Starting Monday, all the designated areas in the capital of Beijing will be a no-smoking zone.

Other major cities in the country are likely to impose similar bans, according to experts.  Shanghai had introduced a similar smoking ban five years ago.  The ban, however, has been ignored by many residents. According to an interview conducted by the Shanghai government, only one out of four people believe that the ban is actually doing well, the Global Times reported.

According to Nanfang.com,the Shanghai smoking ban is actually being enforced in certain public areas.  Big businesses are allowed to designate an area for smokers.

Reports indicate that first-time violators of Beijing's smoking ban will be compelled to pay Rmb50 (around $8).  This fine can reach as high as Rmb200 if the smokers are slow in putting out the cigarette. The identity of the three-time violators shall be posted online to deter others from pursuing similar actions. Business establishments that violate the ban will reportedly have to shell out a maximum fine of up to Rmb10,000.

Meanwhile, WHO representative Bernhard Scwartlander has commended Beijing's smoking ban. He revealed that he hopes other countries will follow China's footsteps in this regard.

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