Smoking Banned in Beijing Cabs in Preparation for Olympics

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 4 2007 1:59 PM

In a bid to make the 2008 Olympic Games a "Non-Smoking" event, the Beijing authorities have banned smoking in the city's 66,000 cabs.

With the ban coming into force on October 1, the passengers and drivers found violating it will have to pay a fine ranging between 100 and 200 yuan (13 to 26 dollars).

"If they violate the regulation, their names will be exposed through media," Xinhua news agency quoted Ma Yanjie, deputy head of the Taxi Management Department of the Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureau, as saying.

A green colour "No Smoking" sign has been posted inside most of the cabs to remind of the new regulation, which found support from many drivers and passengers.

"As a driver, I myself will surely obey the new regulations, and the passengers will also keep an eye on me," a cab driver surnamed Tian said, adding, "Likewise, I also feel justified now to stop my passengers from smoking."

"The problem is that I actually have no way to report smoking passengers who turn a deaf ear to me, because I'm not entitled to ask their personal information such as his name and ID card number, and I can't tell him to get off," he said.

The smoking ban in cabs assumes significance as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had told World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Lee Jong-Wook in 2004 that a "non-smoking" Games is on top of the agenda for the country's preparations for a "Green Olympics."

To fulfil this commitment, the capital started a drive banning smoking in hospitals, schools, restaurants, government offices and private organizations, and other places in April.

According to Jin Dapeng, head of the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau, the municipal government has also drafted a set of regulations banning smoking at Olympic venues, athletes accommodation areas, and within vehicles designated to serve the event.

Sales of cigarettes would also be banned in all venues, and training and accommodation areas in order to take forward the concept of a "non-smoking" Olympics, which was initiated in 1988, and was put into practice in the 1992 Barcelona Games.