The Pearl River Delta city of Zhongshan, Guangdong Province is set to become the first on the mainland to introduce a total ban on smoking in restaurants, an official has said.
The Zhongshan legal affairs bureau is expected to issue its "Regulations on Banning Smoking in the Restaurants of Zhongshan" later this year, Peng Zhenyu, an official with the bureau, said yesterday.
He declined to give an exact date, however, saying the bureau is still seeking input from the public and experts.
In a bid to increase the effectiveness of the ban, the regulations will also urge the public to report those who light up in restaurants to the relevant authorities, Peng said.
A special task force comprising government officials and members of the public will also be set up to patrol the city's major restaurants to ensure the ban is being enforced.
Currently, none of the restaurants in Zhongshan has completely banned smoking.
"The smoking ban is expected to improve the city's image and create a better atmosphere for everyone in it," Peng said.
Lin Lifang, a white-collar worker in the city, said the ban is good news for non-smokers.
She said she goes to restaurants every week and is glad she will soon be able to eat without being affected by the smoke.
While Zhongshan looks set to become the first mainland city to impose the smoking ban, Hong Kong issued a ruling last year that banned smoking in all restaurants in the special administrative region.
(China Daily September 11, 2007)