News / Asia

China Bans Smoking in Restaurants, Hotels, Rail Stations, Airports

A Chinese man smokes in front of a pillar with a no smoking notice on display at a bus station in Beijing, March 24, 2011
A Chinese man smokes in front of a pillar with a no smoking notice on display at a bus station in Beijing, March 24, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Stephanie Ho

A ban on smoking in most public places in China goes into effect Sunday, a move that health experts say will help raise awareness of the dangers of smoking in a country where tobacco use is deeply ingrained.  

There is a lack of public awareness of the health risks of smoking in China. The World Health Organization says seven out of ten non-smoking adults in the East Asian nation are exposed to second-hand smoke each week. Smokers light up in elevators and offices, and even in hospital waiting rooms.

Starting Sunday, though, the country’s estimated 300 million smokers will no longer be allowed to puff their cigarettes in what the Chinese government is calling "enclosed public places." These include hotels, restaurants, theaters and public transport waiting rooms. The ban does not cover offices or factories.

Hong Kong University School of Public Health Director Tai Hing Lam says the ban will be effective in informing the public about the dangers of smoking.

"With this new legislation, this will promote awareness, and that is a major step," said Lam.

He says non-smoking Chinese, who make up the majority of the population, should understand that second-hand smoke is harmful to their health. He hopes the new ban will help encourage them to ask for more smoke free places.

"Non smokers at the moment are too passive, let us put it that way, because they’re so used to being exposed," he said. "So, they do not realize that they have the right to demand it [smoke free places].  Now, the law actually empowers them."

The new regulation does not specify what the penalties should be for people who violate the ban.

Therefore, enforcement is expected to be difficult, which is a point that both supporters and opponents of the smoking ban agree on.

A 28-year-old lawyer, Mr. Zhu, supports the idea of more smoke free places in China, but says he does not think the ban will work.

He says he thinks Chinese people would find a way to avoid paying a fine, even if there were a definite fine. And he points out that there are already rules prohibiting smoking in public places in China that are ignored.

He says he thinks the answer is education, and education at a young age.

Raquel, 24, who works in a bar, says the ban is trying to change basic habits by imposing rules from above.

She says persuading people to quit smoking will take education and will take time. She adds that imposing rules from the top is not reliable and not democratic.

The new ban comes more than four months after a deadline imposed by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. China signed the agreement five years ago.

WHO data show more than 3,000 people die every day in China due to smoking, which contributes to four of the country’s five leading causes of death

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid