According to Beijing's new regulations that ban smoking in public areas, since May 1, smoking has been forbidden in 10 types of public venues and indoor areas such as sports venues and fitness centers, business halls and public transportation. Offenders will face a ten-yuan fine.
In a hotel near the Beijing Zoo, a young lady was lighting up her cigarette inside the business hall while waiting for a friend. "Excuse me madam, would you like some mint candy?" said a hotel manager wearing a tag stating "smoking control". She then politely handed over the new smoking ban materials. The young lady extinguished her cigarette with an understanding smile.
This scenario has been common around Beijing hotels since May 1. In order to fulfill the promise of a smoke-free Olympics, the Beijing government has enacted a new regulation banning smoking in public areas. Since this May, the new regulation has extended to all the medical facilities, sports venues and other 8 types of public spaces, a total 10 public areas. Hotels, bars, fitness centers and cultural heritage areas are the most prominent places first listed into the non-smoking areas.
Three million smokers reside in Beijing. Smoking is in fact vital to many citizens. Many of them are worried about how a minor injunction issued by the government could possibly guarantee a smoke-free city. To enforce the regulation the government has recruited up to 100,000 anti-smoking inspectors, all who started working on May 1.
Ms Wang, one of the smoking-control staff, told a China News Service reporter, "What we do is to prevent smoking inside public areas. Fortunately there were no offenders during the first three days. Smokers cooperated with us."
The fine has now increased. The Beijing Committee of Patriotic Public Health Campaign has declared that, when it will be completely set up, offenders will be fined 1,000-5,000 yuan.