anti smoking campaign

Beijing Smokers Defiantly Puff Away In Spite of City’s Smoking Ban

RMB 100,000 in fines given out in one month

Despite being widely described as “the toughest anti-smoking laws in China”, Beijing smokers are defiantly ignoring a June 1 law that forbids them from smoking just about everywhere except outside.

In the month since the ban began, RMB 100,000 (over $16,000) in fines have been collected from some 40 private organizations and 90 individuals. Beijing health authority official Gao Xiaojun said the city has received 3,305 complaints on its 12320 anti-smoking hotline, and is urging more volunteers to step forward.

Over half of all recorded complaints concerned smoking in office buildings, restaurants, and nightclubs. Other released statistics show heavy enforcement of the ban by health authorities. Since June 1, city health authorities made 8,877 inspections, gave verbal warnings to 771 smokers, and found 2,049 work places not in compliance with city standards.

By comparison, Shenzhen has only punished two places for smoking violations in all of 2014.

But despite the crackdown, smokers are continuing to light up. The Beijing Times reports three nightclubs in the popular Sanlitun area are brazenly allowing their customers to smoke. Interviewed smokers say they are all aware of the ban, and admit the permissible attitude of the club towards smokers is the reason for their patronage. Only 42 percent of restaurants in Beijing are complying with the ban.

Insurance worker and smoker Liu Kaihe said, “I am a frequent guest at hotels. I don’t think anyone will bother you if you just shut the door and smoke inside a hotel room.”

Individual smokers may be fined RMB 200 for violating the ban, while businesses may pay up to RMB 10,000 for allowing smoking on their premises.

The June 1 Beijing ban prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transport. There are currently 16 Chinese cities with anti-smoking regulations in place.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor