Today (May 31) is World No Tobacco Day, a global nod to stubbing out those ciggies for a day and giving non-smokers in Beijing the chance to breathe a little bit deeper in this already smog-infused city. China is often stuck in the whirlwind argument of “to ban, or not to ban?” with attempts to dissuade lighting up in public places often fizzling out.

China is home to an estimated one third of the entire planet's smokers, and 1.4 million people die each year from tobacco-related ilnesses. Habits start early and die hard – an estimated 7 percent of all middle school students (15 percent of the males) smoke, and more than half report being exposed to second-hand smoke at school. Four out of 5 report they never have a problem buying cigarettes, which according to law are not supposed to be sold to anyone under 18, and half say one or both of their parents smoke at home.

Breaking the habit is difficult for individuals and perhaps even more difficult for the government, whose single largest source of revenues is tobacco tax, representing 6 percent of the nation's total tax income – in 2010 that amounted to RMB 499 billion dollars.

Though smoking is indeed banned indoors in Beijing, enforcement is spotty and therefore it’s usually only by personal preference from certain café and bar owners we are afforded a reprieve from these man-made fumes, whereby they have declared an outright ban on indoor smoking within their premises. To help you find some slightly fresher air in Beijing we’ve tailored lists to help you avoid second-hand smoke in first-rate places across day and night occasions.

If you’re always on the hunt for some decent coffee, sweet treats, great Wi-Fi, and a peaceful environment, then hit up any of these eateries during the day to clear your head, and your lungs:

The Bookworm
Moka Bros
Spoonful of Sugar
Sweet Tooth

And a few months ago we interviewed bar owners around Beijing who 100 percent support zero smoking indoors, you can click here to read their thoughts on the issue, or check below to see which bars in Beijing guarantee a good night without having to light up:

Cu Ju
Great Leap Brewing
Hidden House
Mao Mao Chong
Plan B
Slow Boat Taproom
Tim’s Texas Bar-B-Q

Photos courtesy theguardian, truthfromfacts

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog