Beijing started posting striking signs of "No Smoking" inside
66,000 cabs in the city to meet the requirements of a smoking ban
to be enforced from October 1, amid efforts to help create a
"non-smoking" Olympic Games in 2008.
Local authorities, including the Health Bureau, Transportation
Administration Bureau, and Transportation Law Enforcement General
Team, jointly launched the public promotion of smoke-free cabs.
"Smoking will be banned for both drivers and passengers. Drivers
will face a fine of 100 yuan to 200 yuan (US$13 to 26) if caught
smoking in cabs," said Ma Yanjie, deputy head of the Taxi
Management Department of the Beijing Municipal Transportation
"If passengers violate the regulation, their names will be
exposed by news media," Ma said.
Beijing started a drive banning smoking in hospitals, schools,
restaurants, government offices and private organizations and other
places as from last April to pursue a scientific strategy of
development, in a bid to fulfil the commitment of ensuring "Green
Olympics," said Jin Dapeng, head of the Beijing Municipal Health
The municipal government has also drafted a set of regulations
banning smoking at Olympic venues, athletes' accommodation areas,
and within vehicles designated to serve the event.
Sales of cigarettes would also be banned in all venues, and
training and accommodation areas.
However, implementation of the ban faces hurdles in Beijing,
where almost half the male population are smokers, according to a
survey conducted by Horizon Research Consultancy Group. Some
Beijing taxi drivers fear passengers will ignore the ban and their
advice against smoking, and they say they lack the authority to
stop passengers from smoking.
The concept of a "non-smoking" Olympics, initiated in 1988, has
been put into practice since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Next year's event will be the first "non-smoking" Olympic Games
after the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), of which
China is a signatory, went into effect in 2005.
The government has pledged to ban all types of tobacco
advertising and promotions by 2011 in accordance with its
obligations under the FCTC.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicates that 350
million people in China, about 26 percent of the country's
population and a third of the world's smoking population, are
hooked on nicotine and about 1 million people die from
smoking-related diseases each year.
(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2007)