Citing health risk, Chinese cities move against smoking in public

Seeking to stem widespread tobacco dependency in a country that is the largest producer and consumer in the world, Chinese cities are increasingly implementing strict new restrictions on smoking in public. This November, Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province in northwest China joined Beijing, Shanghai and several other provincial cities in banning smoking in public places.

There are more than 300 million smokers in China, and the nation consumes 44% of the world’s tobacco. But studies have shown that restrictions on smoking in other Chinese cities have begun to have an impact. In Beijing, city officials report the number of adult smokers is down by about 200,000 people since the city first prohibited smoking in all public spaces, office buildings and on public transportation three years ago.