Beijing claims it will enact a strict new smoking ban this week, with smoking to be prohibited in any indoor public space, according to Beijing Youth Daily.
Forgive our skepticism, but this was tried once before in 2008, and failed, miserably. One tenet of the new smoking ban indicates that smoking rooms will be removed from Beijing Capital International Airport. What will that prove or improve?
Hotels and hotel rooms will also be included in the smoking ban.
Outdoors, smoking will be prohibited near schools and at historic places.
There are about as many smokers in China as there are Americans, in the neighborhood of 300 million. While smoking is not nearly as prevalent or acceptable as it was in China a decade ago, it is still far more publicly permissible here than in most other countries.
We hope the ban succeeds, but it does beg some important questions: who is going to enforce the ban? What will the fines and other punishments be? Who is going to deal with the off-the-handle reactions often seen when people are asked to curtail their publicly unacceptable behavior? It's possible that an all-out, zero tolerance effort, like we saw with drunk driving, could be very effective. We'd like to be pleasantly surprised on this one.
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