Beijing has banned smoking in public places, through a law passed last year that came into effect on Monday. Here’s a tweet from the government-owned Xinhua news agency.
China’s capital now forbids people lighting up in places such as restaurants, workplaces, and on public transport, the BBC reported.
The government has also recommended that people use these hand gestures to encourage others not to smoke, Reuters reported.
China is really big on smoking – it’s home to 300 million smokers and consumes one-third of the world’s cigarettes, the World Health Organization says.
Smoking is particularly widespread among men — over half of Chinese men smoke, the WHO says. Fancy cigarettes are often given as a gift for government officials.
The China National Tobacco Corp., a Chinese government-owned company, is also the world's biggest manufacturer of cigarettes, as Bloomberg reported in December.
But China’s President Xi Jinping isn't a smoker. In fact, he banned Communist party officials from smoking in public places in 2013, halting so-called ashtray diplomacy, The Atlantic reported at the time.
China has tried similar bans in 1996 and 2008, but they were largely ignored, the New York Times reported. The new rules are much tougher than those set in the past.
Anyone in Beijing who breaks the new rules must pay a 200 yuan ($32.25) fine, which is 20 times the current and largely ignored penalty, Reuters reported. Businesses will also be fined if smoking takes place on their premises.
Anyone who breaks the law three times will also be named and shamed on a government website, according to Reuters.
Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Shyamantha Asokan at email@example.com.
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