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Beijing awarded by WHO for new smoking ban

Updated: May 31,2015 2:27 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Beijing was honored by the World Health Organization (WHO) on World No Tobacco Day on May 31 for the city’s new smoking ban, set to take effect on June 1.

The new ban, the country’s toughest to date, prohibits smoking in all the city’s indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transportation.

“We applauded Beijing for its strong and determined leadership in protecting the health of its people by making public places smoke-free. We are delighted to be formally recognizing the Beijing Municipal Government with a WHO World No Tobacco Day Award,” said Shin Young-soo, Regional Director for the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office.

According to the WHO, Beijing’s law is compliant with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and when fully implemented, will have a major impact on the health of Beijing’s millions of residents.

Following the ban, the capital’s airport on June 1 will close three smoking rooms in its three terminals and open 11 smoking spaces outside. New outdoor smoking areas will be available at more than 600 bus stops around the city.

Residents can report indoor smoking in public venues, and law enforcement officers will patrol Beijing’s roads to help implement the regulation.

As the world’s largest tobacco producer and consumer, China has more than 300 million smokers, almost the size of the US population. Another 740 million people are exposed to second-hand smoke each year.

According to official data, more than one million Chinese people die from smoking-related diseases annually.