China

Chinese smokers face cigarette ban in Beijing

A man smokes a cigarette at a park in Beijing on May 11, 2010 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Previous attempts to ban smoking in China have failed

Smokers in China's capital are to be banned from lighting up in all indoor public spaces under plans being introduced by Beijing city officials, state media reported.

Cigarette advertising will also be hit, with a widespread prohibition covering public transport, film, magazines and newspapers.

There are an estimated 300 million smokers in China.

Previous attempts to ban the habit have ended in failure.

The rules, due to be enforced from June next year, will initially only cover the capital.

But they could be rolled out across the rest of the country of 1.3 billion people.

Under the proposals, smoking will not be allowed on the bus, at work or even outside near schools or hospitals.

The BBC's Michael Bristow said the plans could save some of the million or so Chinese who die of smoking-related illnesses each year.

But previous bans have been ignored, he added.

Ministry of Health guidelines published in 2011 banned smoking in public spaces such as hotels and restaurants.

The rules were vague, however, and often flouted by Chinese smokers who are accustomed to lighting up at will.

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