In a city where thousands of people thrive on lighting a cigarette, a smoking ban in public places in Beijing could be a real choker.
Hailed as the toughest smoking ban ever, Beijing has started implementing a ban on public smoking on Monday. Restaurants, offices, airports, hospitals, kindergarten outdoors, and bars are now restricted areas for smokers. The fine is up to $1,600 or 10,000 yuan, according to CNN. Establishments will receive warnings and repeated violations will cause a revocation of business licenses plus fine.
Violators will also be shamed publicly in the Government’s websites.
China has over 350 million smokers and produces 42% of the global supply of cigarettes.
On Monday, a local restaurant was the first to have a taste of the country’s strong implementation of the rule. According to a Xinhuanet report, inspectors found cigarette butts in the washroom and the public ads against public smoking were not posted in the vicinity of the restaurant. A warning was issued.
Another local restaurant had to cancel a wedding for fear of being fined. The guests wanted to smoke during the reception.
Beijing’s airport closed all of its indoor smoking rooms.
China has long been criticized for weakly implementing the public smoking ban. The government has long started this tradition in the early 1990s with a spike during the 2008 Olympics, only to be weakened again through the passage of time.