The draft regulations to ban smoking was adopted at a meeting of he Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress and comes into effect on June 1 next year.     

The new regulations also bans outdoor tobacco advertisements in public places and transport, as well as in media including radio, TV, films, newspapers, books, and on the Internet.

Smoking would also be prohibited in open-air space in kindergartens, schools, child welfare institutions, women and children's hospitals, fitness and sports venues, and cultural relic protection sites that are open to the public.     

Teachers would be forbidden from smoking in front of students in primary and secondary schools, state-run news agency reported insisting the move has reaffirmed China's anti-smoking determination.

China, the world's largest tobacco maker and consumer, has more than 300 million smokers and another 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke each year. The population of smokers in Beijing exceeds 400,000.     

More than a million people die each year due to tobacco in China, where the taxes levied on cigarettes is about 43.4 percent, much lower than world average.

Yang Gonghuan, deputy head of Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, says ideally taxes should represent 67 to 80 per cent of the retail price of cigarettes.

The new legislation, however, bans all forms of tobacco promotions and title sponsorship. Schools would be required to help students quit smoking and educate them about its affects.     

People who would smoke in previously designated smoke-free areas will be fined up to 200 yuan (USD 32.5).

But the optimism about the new ban appears premature as past attempts to prohibit smokers have not gone well with the smokers.

Ministry of Health guidelines published in 2011 banned smoking in "indoor public spaces", but lacked enforcement.     

The new regulations said the responsibility to enforce the ban in public places will be on the shoulders of government managers and operators.

Anti-smoking advocates have long called for adding health warning signs on cigarette packets domestically, though export products by Chinese brands have health warnings.     

China's tobacco producers are strongly opposed to the practice, arguing that it is inappropriate to add the gruesome warning signs on cigarette packages in a country where giving cigarettes as gifts is a long-held tradition.

The draft regulation asks cigarette producers to add written and visual health warnings to cigarette packages and the signs should cover at least half of the total area of the packages.

Latest News from World News Desk