A new law introduced in Beijing, China's capital has banned smoking in public places including hotels and restaurants. China has over 300 million smokers and every year over a million Chinese people die from smoking-related illness.
Though smoking bans exist in China, they have failed to crack down the habit. The new regulations are tougher and restrict ban lighting up in restaurants, offices and on public transport in Beijing.
In 2011, Ministry of Health guidelines banned smoking in all public spaces nationwide such as hotels and restaurants. Smokers in China ignored the ban as the rules were vague.
The new rules were proposed in November 2014 but came into effect on June 1, 2015. According to the legislation lawbreakers in Beijing will be fined 200 yuan (Ģ21; $32) and businesses that turn a blind eye could be fined up to 10,000 yuan. Repeat offenders will be named and shamed on a government website, also tobacco advertising will be banned across the city.
The World Health Organization has welcomed the new tougher regulations. "When implemented, this new law will permanently bring clean air to all of Beijing's indoor public places - in doing so, protecting Beijing's more than 20 million residents from the deadly effects of exposure to toxic second-hand smoke," said Dr Bernhard Schwartlander WHO representative, China.
However, others believe that the sheer popularity of the habit will make the regulations difficult to enforce. Yang Gonghuan, former vice-director of China's centre for disease control said, "It is unrealistic to absolutely abolish 'indoor smoking' since too many people smoke."