The "No Smoking in Public Places in Beijing" law, implemented in 1995, is set to be revised by the Beijing municipal government. With this initiative included in the legislation program of the National People's Congress and the Legislative Affairs Office under the State Council, the revised draft of the program is scheduled to be submitted to the government by the end of 2010. If the draft is finished and reviewed by the end of 2010, Beijing is expected to achieve the goal of banning smoking inside public places by 2011, a goal that was released on July 2 by the World Health Organization in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control during the Forum on Tobacco Control and Enforcement.
Experts said that there are a total of three million smokers in Beijing and the health of 52 percent of residents is affected by secondhand smoke. In a survey, nine percent of smokers even self-righteously said they would not be able to quit smoking.
According to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control conducted by the World Health Organization, China should completely ban smoking in all indoor public places, indoors workspaces, public areas as well as any possible outdoors public places beginning in January 2011. Experts believe that it will be difficult for China to completely control smoking in indoor public places by 2011 under the current situation, because many locations in China have no schedule for drawing up tobacco control legislation. Fortunately, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou has released local smoking regulations in public places by taking the opportunity to hosting international events such as the Olympic Games, the World Expo and the Asian Games.
However, there is a gap between these regulations and the goal of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. For example, the regulations put forward “smoking control” rather than a full “ban on smoking,” and both a general failure of citizens to abide by the law, as well as a laxity in enforcing the law is common. Experts found that restaurants and hotels rarely asked customers whether they smoke and did not assign separate smoking and non-smoking rooms during the survey.
Experts proposed to extend the range of public places in the amendment. Besides medical institutions, schools, hotels and restaurants, workplaces should also be included in the range of smoking control. All offices, corridors, elevators and bathrooms of the office buildings will be included in smoking ban. The stipulation from the old law to set aside smoking areas and non-smoking areas indoors will be canceled and smoking indoors will be completely banned. In addition, administrative punishments will be used to punish smokers who break the new law and violations will be taken more seriously. Experts believe the fine of 10 yuan for personal violations, and 1,000 to 5,000 yuan for group or company violations is too moderate. Therefore, it is certain that the fine will be increased in the revised law. In addition, experts also recommended the establishment of a Tobacco Control Office in Beijing to be responsible for tobacco control inspection, reporting and processing.