Beijing adopted Friday a law banning smoking in all indoor public spaces, including offices. The law will affect the city’s estimated 4 million smokers. Its adoption comes at a time the central government’s State Council is considering whether to implement new nationwide smoking restrictions.
The measure also will ban tobacco advertising outdoors or on public transportation when it goes into effect June 1, the South China Morning Post reported. Additionally, the government is scrubbing tobacco advertisements from most forms of media, including books, newspapers and Internet sites, as well as films, radio and television, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Those found in violation of the new rules can be fined anywhere between 50 yuan ($8.14) and 200 yuan ($32.56), the Morning Post said.
In 2008, the government outlawed smoking in open-air public spaces such as those outside schools, hospitals, sports venues and tourism spots.
Efforts by Chinese lawmakers to put a stop to smoking stretch beyond the country’s capital. The citywide ban is in line with a greater national effort to curb tobacco use among China’s estimated 300 million smokers. A draft of a new nationwide regulation called the Ordinance on Restricting Smoking in Public Spaces was released for public perusal last week, the South China Morning Post reported.
According to China’s Ministry of Health, a 2012 study indicated tobacco kills more than 1 million people in the country per year, and such deaths are only expected to rise. The World Health Organization has applauded the nation’s efforts to clamp down on smoking, beginning in its capital city.
“We are thrilled to see [the] Beijing 100 percent smoke-free law pass, with no loopholes and no exemptions,” the Morning Post quoted Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO’s representative in China, as saying. “China is poised to take a quantum leap forward on tobacco control.”