May 31 is World No-Tobacco Day, and beginning June 1 smoking in restaurants, offices and on public transportation will be banned in the Chinese capital.
Under the new rules, anyone in Beijing who violates the bans, which include smoking near schools and hospitals, must pay a fine from 50 yuan to 200 yuan ($8-32), which is 20 times the amount of current fines.
The rules also state that anyone who breaks the law three times will be named on a government website. Businesses can be fined up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600) for failing to stamp out smoking on their premises. The government will also no longer allow cigarettes to be sold in shops within 100 meters of primary schools and kindergartens.
Some restaurant owners in Beijing are complaining that the tough rules will cause a loss of customers and an increase in arguments over lighting up.
“We’ll suggest our customers smoke outside the restaurant. This is our outdoor smoking area,” said a waitress in a non-smoking restaurant.
“People usually spend a relatively long time dining here. So if they smoke outside, which is very likely to happen, we have to look after their stuff. This is our major concern,” said a restaurant manager.
“My principle is not to affect the interests of the restaurant. We’ll probably suggest they smoke outside, but not in a tough way, otherwise a quarrel or a fight will probably happen,” said a restaurant owner.