Beijing Smoking Ban Utilizes Methods Usually Reserved For Sex Offenders

A new Beijing smoking ban went into effect today in China.

The Beijing smoking ban has gone into effect in an effort to curb smoking by an estimated 300 million of China’s population. Almost half of adult men in China and a third of adults characterize themselves as regular tobacco users according to the World Health Organization. Of those smokers, over 3,000 die from tobacco-related illnesses each day.

Because of those astonishing numbers, the Beijing smoking ban has some pretty strict regulations. Beijing’s smoking ban outlaws smoking in public places including public transportation, restaurants and offices. A Beijing smoking ban had been in effect previously in the capital city, however, authorities say there was little enforcement and a mediocre fine of 10 yuan ($1.60). Now, however, with the implementation of the new Beijing smoking ban, the fines have been upped to 200 yuan ($32). To enforce the new Beijing smoking ban, the city government has trained and deployed over 1,000 smoking ban inspectors authorized to cite and impose fines on smokers.

The city government has gone one step farther, however. Anyone caught violating the Beijing smoking ban will be listed in a public, government website which amounts to public shaming. A tactic usually reserved in the West for prostitution solicitation, child molesters and other sex offenders, the public shaming as part of the Beijing smoking ban is yet another method with which the chinese government hopes to snuff out smoking.

So far, there has been one major citation already this morning. The Beijing smoking ban inspectors found cigarette ashes in the men’s bathroom at a large restaurant chain called Haidilao. According to the Xinhua state-run news agency, both the smoking offender and the restaurant will be forced to pay a fine.

A worker at the Haidilao restaurant spoke about the incident, as well as what they will do to commit to the Beijing smoking ban.

“Yes, it’s true. We now observe the three no’s —no ashtrays, no cigarette lighters, no matches”

For violation the Beijing smoking ban, Haidilao will receive a fine between $320 and $1,600 depending on how at fault the Beijing smoking ban inspectors feel the restaurant was for the incident.

As with any tough new law such as the Beijing smoking ban, there are those that feel it’s a wonderful new tool to diminish smoking, and others that think it’s fart too strict. What do you think? Though many Western countries have outlawed smoking in public places, do you believe that higher fines and public shaming should be implemented like the laws included in the Beijing smoking ban?

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images