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China to ban smoking in enclosed public places from May 1

Xinhua News Agency

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) — Smoking will be banned in all enclosed public locations including hotels, restaurants, theaters and waiting rooms at railway stations and airports starting May 1, according to a regulation issued by the Ministry of Health.

Business owners should set up conspicuous non-smoking signs, carry out promotional activities to warn people of the dangers of smoking and encourage their employees to dissuade smokers from lighting up, according to the regulation.

The new regulation also says that outdoor smoking areas should not obstruct pedestrian walkways and that cigarette vending machines should be excluded from public places.

Yang Gonghuan, director of China’s National Office of Tobacco Control, said the regulation gives business owners a clear view of their responsibilities in relation to the smoking ban.

“It is realistic to demand a bigger role for these business owners in dissuading smokers,” Yang said.

It is estimated that China has more than 300 million regular smokers, and more than 700 million people are routinely exposed to harmful second-hand smoke, according to experts.

The regulation does not specify punishments for business owners who fail to meet the smoking ban’s requirements. It also does not specify penalties for people who continue to smoke in areas affected by the smoking ban.

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