An unusual case

| January 24, 2018

A court in China’s Henan Province on Tuesday overruled an appeal filed by the family of a smoker who died of a heart attack after an argument with a man who had asked him to stop smoking in a lift, according to a Xinhua Newswire story.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Zhengzhou found that the behavior of the defendant Yang Jun was lawful and was aimed at safeguarding the public interest.

The court overruled earlier findings, rejected the plaintiff’s compensation claim, and asked the plaintiff to pay litigation costs of more than 14,000 yuan (about US$2,180).

The family of the elderly smoker had claimed more than 400,000 yuan from Yang following the incident in May, alleging that the argument had played a role in triggering the heart attack.

In September, the People’s Court of Jinshui District ruled that Yang’s behavior had not led to the death of the smoker but ordered Yang to pay compensation of 15,000 yuan to the family.

The family appealed against the court’s decision to the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhengzhou City. The court heard the appeal in November but pronounced the final judgement on Tuesday.

The Xinhua Newswire story said the case had attracted nationwide attention with many people criticizing the initial ruling against Yang and welcoming the final judgement.

Although there is no national law on indoor smoking in China, a 2011 regulation banned smoking in indoor public spaces including lifts.

But as of 2016, 18 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, had imposed smoking bans.

“Everyone, smoker or non-smoker, has the right to ask smokers to stop smoking in public venues,” said Jiang Yuan, an officer with the Tobacco Control Office, which operates under the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

“The final ruling is support for national tobacco control and for those who get up the courage to say no to second-hand smoke.”

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Category: Breaking News, Litigation, People, Regulation

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