While China has pushed to ban smoking in all indoor venues, the Shanghai government is finally expected to pass the ban this year. According to a Chinese official, the law would entail that smoking be banned in 13 different types of public areas, including primary schools, hospitals, workplaces and kindergartens.
Last year, surveys showed that 94 percent of Shanghai residents approved of the law and the percentage of smokers in public areas has decreased by 25 percent from 2014 to 2015.
The Vice Director of the Shanghai Health Enhance Commission, Li Zhongyang stated that the Commission has been pushing to ban smoking in public venues for years. However, the change in public opinion will perhaps act as a catalyst for the law’s enactment.
In 2014, Shanghai government and local health authorities announced that they were going to place a total ban on smoking in public places within a five year period. A partial smoking ban was implemented in 2010, but many restaurants, internet cafes and entertainment venues still saw smokers indoors. According to Li, the Shanghai authorities have issued almost RMB1.9 million in fines to almost 1,000 venues across Shanghai, for breaking the partial smoking prohibitions.
Beijing authorities also announced that as of June 1, 2015, a smoking ban would go into effect. The ban, which made the capital home some of the country's harshest anti-smoking laws, was intended to prohibit smoking in all indoor venues and offices. However, Beijing is yet to see hard results, as implementation has proven difficult. While Shanghai and Beijing’s laws might be changing, a proposal to ban smoking indoors across China was rejected at the end of 2014.
According to a study conducted by the University of Oxford, the number of annual smoking deaths in China is expected to reach 3 million per year in 2050.
[Image via CityLab]