China is the world's largest tobacco consumer, and has sometimes seemed the country most resistant to curbing its use—but last week its capital city, Beijing, banned smoking in restaurants, offices and on public transport, as well as near schools and hospitals.
Health activists who have pushed for nationwide bans are pleased, but are waiting to see how well it's enforced. Penalties for violation include a fine of about $32, about 20 times the previous (and seldom-enforced fine). Three-time violators will also be named and shamed on a public website. Businesses that fail to enforce the rules on their premises face $1600 fines.
Smoking is a major health issue in China; cigarettes are relatively cheap and there are 300 million smokers. Other recent anti-tobacco actions have included national bans on cigarette ads in mass media, public places on public transport and outdoors. The banners seen in the picture above are paired with a hotline to report violations.
From Yomiuri Shimbun's English service, MORE