Just to set the mood, here are a few smoking facts courtesy of CNN:
– More than one in every three cigarettes in the world is smoked in China
– In Beijing alone, there are 4 million smokers
– In 2013, a WHO survey found that among five to six year old children, almost nine in 10 can recognize at least one brand of cigarettes and one in five expect to be smokers when they grow up.
With truths like these, it’s not hard to see why China’s capital has had to come down hard on puffing in public.
How hard, you ask?
Well, as of today, lighting up will be “prohibited in all offices, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and airports.” (A previous ban in 2008 had attempted to close smoking rooms in airports, but “after closing them with great fanfare, the airport quietly reopened the smoking rooms in its terminals.”)
Individuals caught exhaling at the expense of others will face a 200 yuan ($32 USD) fine, while businesses risk a penalty of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600 USD).
Perhaps the best part?
“Anyone who breaks the law three times will find themselves named and shamed on a government website.”
Though ‘shame’ hardly seems like the right word considering nearly 50% of the population smokes daily, it is definitely a step in the right direction.