China: Thou Shalt Not Smoke In Public

China Thou Shalt Not SmokeChina is again attempting to ban public smoking. It was first tried in 1996 as well as just before the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

However, on both occasions, it was ignored for the most part by individuals and businesses.

According to government officials, this time, however it will be different as thousands of ‘health police officers’ have been trained to ensure that the ban is effectively carried out.

The tough new ban came into effect in Beijing on Sunday, and the goal is to end the grip of tobacco on the populace.

Any violation will invoke a charge ranging from $32 to $1600.

According to press reports, China has some 301 million smokers, almost one-third of the world’s total, according to the World Health Organization.

Nearly 53 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women smoke regularly, the organization estimates, and the habit contributes to a million deaths a year from heart disease, cancer, and other ailments. Secondhand smoke causes an additional 100,000 deaths a year, the organization estimates.

In Beijing alone, smokers light up 14.6 million cigarettes a day on average, according to a study conducted last year by the Beijing Patriotic Health Campaign Committee.

The study found that secondhand smoke was probably inhaled by 90 percent of people who went to bars and clubs, 65 percent of diners in restaurants and 40 percent of people in their own homes.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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