Beijing’s municipal government has adopted a comprehensive smoking ban for all indoor venues. But as we’ve seen in other measures, the city is in no hurry to have clean air. As such, this new set of regulations won’t take effect until June 1, 2015.
Along with smoking banned in all indoor venues, outdoors, it will be prohibited near schools and at historic places. No smoking will be permitted on public transportation, either.
Forgive our skepticism, but this was tried once before in 2008, and failed, miserably. Why did it take seven years to try again? One tenet of the new smoking ban indicates that smoking rooms will be removed from Beijing Capital International Airport. What will that prove or improve?
There are about as many smokers in China as there are Americans, in the neighborhood of 300 million. While smoking is not nearly as prevalent or acceptable as it was in China a decade ago, it is still far more publicly permissible here than in most other countries.
We hope the ban succeeds, but it does beg some important questions: who is going to enforce the ban? What will the fines and other punishments be? Who is going to deal with the off-the-handle reactions often seen when people are asked to curtail their publicly unacceptable behavior? It’s possible that an all-out, zero tolerance effort, like we saw with drunk driving, could be very effective. We’d like to be pleasantly surprised on this one.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on December 1, 2014
Photo: news.com.au vis the Beijinger