Beijing introduces smoking bans

China is the world’s largest tobacco consumer and this month new restrictions have been introduced to ban smoking in certain areas.

Beijing has now banned smoking in offices, restaurants and on public transport.

Over previous years health activists have pushed to have stronger restrictions on smoking in the country so these new bans have been warmly welcomed.

Anyone found violating the new bans will be expected to pay a fine of 200 yuan that is equivalent to about twenty pounds. Some of the locations that will have the bans in action are public locations like hospitals and near schools.

If a person breaks the law three times their name will be put on a government website so they can be named and shamed for their actions.

Businesses could be potentially fined 10,000 yuan (£1,046) if they fail to stop smoking on their premises.

“Restaurant staff have a duty to try to dissuade people from smoking,” said Mao Qunan, of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

“If they don’t listen to persuasion, then law enforcement authorities will file a case against them.”

The government have also introduced plans to stop shops that are located within 100 meters of schools to sell cigarettes.

Angela Pratt of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative has said: “We couldn’t say this is the strongest law in the world.

“But it’s certainly up there with the strongest, in that there are no exemptions, no exceptions and no loopholes on the indoor smoking ban requirement.”

Smoking is being considered as a major health issue in China and the government are attempting to introduce stronger laws and bans that will restrict and dissuade smoking.

China produces about 42% of the world’s cigarettes and it is estimated there are more than 350 million smokers in the country. Many more suffer from second hand smoke.

Last month China introduced new legislations to ban advertisements for tobacco in mass media and public places.

It is currently unclear how effective the new smoking bans will be but the laws are evidently directed to help protect those who would suffer from second hand smoke.

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