As the largest consumer of tobacco in the world, China stunned everybody when it started imposing a tough smoking ban in Beijing this month. This comes as new smoking bans are being inaugurated in several other countries, particularly in Europe. Some 90 countries around the world now have anti-smoking legislation that just a few years ago would have been considered very strict. Here's an update in the global battle to clear the air:
January 1 was the date of the beginning of the smoking ban in restaurants and public facilities in South Korea. People smoking traditional and electronic cigarettes in public areas now face a fine of 100,000 W ($90) as reports the South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo.
On June 3, Wales voted in a law preventing parents from smoking in cars carrying children. The smoking ban will take effect in October, and offenders will be fined Â£50 ($79). As part as its aggressive new public health policy, the Welsh government also plans to ban e-cigarettes from all public places, reports The Guardian.
Until now, the Czech Republic is the last European Union country to allow unrestricted smoking in restaurants. From January 2016 however, the government will ban smoking in restaurants and hotels, but also in concerts and indoor entertainment zones. The anti-smoking bill, which also bans cigarette sales in vending machines, was approved June 3 despite fierce opposition by restaurants and hotels operators who fear potential smoking customers will stay home, according to the Prague Daily Monitor. People who violate the new smoking restrictions will be fined up to 10,000 crowns, or around $415, five times the present rate.
After it passed a law forcing cigarette companies to use plain packaging, the French government has now also banned smoking in children playgrounds. France's Health Minister Marisol Touraine says it is a "common-sense measure" designed "to respect our children." Le Monde reports that anyone caught smoking in a playground will be fined 68 euros ($72), just as in other restrictive outdoor areas .
[rebelmouse-image 27089136 alt="""" original_size="800x600" expand=1]A playground in Parc de Saint-Cloud, near Paris — Photo: Copyleft/WikiCommons
Since June 1, people face a relatively modest fine of $32 if they smoke in restaurants, offices or on public transport of the capital city of Beijing. But in addition to the dent in your wallet, offenders will be named and shamed on a governmental website. The move was welcomed by the World Health Organization representative in China, Dr. Bernhard Schwartländer who said in a statement: "Beijing has now set the bar very high — and we now look forward to other cities around China, and the world, following Beijing's excellent example."