in Beijing have taken up smoking in the past 10 years, though the
average smoking rate in the Olympic city is declining, a government-backed
research has found.
The smoking rate among women in Beijing was around 10.4 percent
in 2004, compared with 8.76 percent in 1997, according to the
research sponsored by Think Tank Research Center for Health
Development, a government-backed tobacco control organization based
No update was given in its report published on Friday, though
Think Tank did say "the smoking rate among Beijing women was still
Most of the women smokers were businesswomen, actresses, singers
and young students who think it's cool to light up a cigarette.
Beijing's overall smoking rate, however, saw a 11.5-percent
decline in the past decade, according to the report, based on a
10-year-long research carried out by Beijing's Capital Medical
It said the smoking rate among Beijing residents was around 23
percent at the end of last year, compared with 34.5 percent in
"Beijing's anti-smoking efforts have proven as effective as
those of New York City," the report said, "with an annual 1.08
percent decline in smoking rates since a regional smoking ban in
public areas took effect in 1995."
It said the absolute majority of Beijingers upheld the ban, and
suggested it should extend to more public facilities including
workplace and even streets.
The 1995 ban put hospitals, nurseries, primary and secondary
schools, theaters, libraries, stadiums, museums, banks, post
offices, shops and all means of public transport as smoking-free
As a part of the research, a 2007 survey by Capital Medical
University indicated 75.3 percent of the respondents suggested
smoking should also be banned in the workplace, and 68.5 percent
said the ban should extend to restaurants, bars and other
In the survey, which tracked 5,270 health workers, food and
beverage industry employees and men in the street, 60.2 percent of
the respondents suggested university campuses should also be
off-limits to smokers and 51.4 percent said smoking should be
banned in Wangfujing Street, Beijing's city center pedestrian
Nearly 80 percent of the people surveyed said those who smoke in
public areas should face a fine from 10 to 50 yuan (1.4 to 7 U.S.
dollars), while 71 percent suggested the government should impose
higher taxes on tobacco.
The Chinese are among the world's most enthusiastic smokers,
with a growing market of more than 320 million, making it a magnet
for cigarette companies and a focus of international health
Beijing's first smoking-free restaurant, Meizhou Dongpo,
reported business declines after it enforced a smoking ban in
The chain restaurant serving the spicy fare of southwest Sichuan
Province, had trained its waitresses how to discourage people from
lighting up, but met resistance from customers who would locked
staff out of private dining rooms to sneak a quick puff.
Beijing has yet to issue clear rules on smoking bans to ensure a
smoking-free Olympic Games in August.
China banned smoking in taxis in October and launched a drive to
ban smoking in hospitals, schools, and government offices last
(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2008)