Ban would affect the country's 300 million smokers
Soon it could be illegal to smoke in public places in China, as the government considers tightening restrictions on the addictive habit.
The new rules, which are being presented to the public for the first time this week, would also ban smoking at certain outdoor areas like sports venues, restrict selling of tobacco to minors and force tobacco companies to include warnings about the dangers of smoking prominently on their package labels, the New York Times reports.
Smoking is incredibly popular in China: 300 million people partake regularly. It’s also cheap because, unlike in the U.S., the Chinese government doesn’t levy heavy taxes on tobacco products. Pro-smoking advertisements are even a common sight at schools. The World Health Organization had been pushing China to do more to curb smoking in the country for several years.
The reaction to the proposed rules has been largely positive so far, according to the Times. A local Beijing publication claims that 90% of the city’s residents support banning smoking at indoor public places.