Beijing Tries to Stub Out Smoking ... Again
Beijing is giving the smoking ban another go. The city last implemented tighter regulations on smoking in public spaces - particularly bars and restaurants - last May. However, officials failed to enforce the new law, leaving nights out the usual smoky affair. This new ban won’t add further restrictions, but will focus on actual enforcement.
Last May’s attempted ban was enacted amid a lack of communication and vague details. Bar owners that we talked to at the time had not received any official word from the city and rumors of fines suggested figures that ranged from RMB 500 to RMB 30,000. (From what we know, no one was ever fined). At the time, a few bars fell into line, though the majority of venues continued to permit smoking.
One place that did successfully ban smoking last year (though unrelated to the city ban) was Beijing Capital Airport. Back in May, all smoking lounges were shut and smokers kicked to the curb for their nicotine fix. However, after complaints, the airport reopened designated areas in all three terminals in December.
Now, legislation is on the city’s agenda that would not only ban smoking, but would also include measures for actual implementation as well as penalties for anyone in violation. Needless to say, we’re skeptical over this recent development and don’t hold much hope for being able to go to bars and not walk out smelling like a stale ashtray.
Photo: Global Times