Beijing: China’s capital will restrict smoking in restaurants and bars beginning in June 2008, two months ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, state press reported Wednesday.
All medium-sized and large restaurants and bars in the capital will be required to either ban smoking or set up non-smoking areas on their premises, Xinhua news agency said, citing a government circular issued on 24 April.
The non-smoking areas must take up at least 75% of the restaurants’ dining area, it said.
Smoking will be banned at restaurants and bars in all city parks and at major tourist sites, the circular said.
The ban will be implemented as part of the city’s pledge to host a “Green Olympics”, the report said. The circular also urged eating and drinking establishments to begin publicising the ban.
The ban may meet resistance from Beijing’s notorious smokers who not only enjoy lighting up after their meals, but often puff away between bites of food.
China is home to one in three of the world’s smokers and is the world’s largest producer of tobacco.
In 2005, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that there were 350 million smokers in China, or some 36% of its adult population.