Since the June 1 start of a public-places tobacco smoking ban in Beijing, China, enforcement officials have conducted more than 20,000 inspections at 13,000 venues and ticketed 73 businesses and 179 individuals, according to a story by Chu Yiming for China Radio International, relayed by the TMA.
Put another way, for each inspection they made, enforcement officials ticketed 0.00365 of a venue and 0.00895 of a person, which seems to suggest an enormous level of compliance among businesses and smokers.
In fact, such compliance mirrors what has been the experience in many other cities and countries where smokers tend to be much more law-abiding than do, say, motorists.
The number of tickets issued was low despite the fact that Beijing’s tobacco-smoking ban covers all enclosed public places and some outdoor public places.
And it was low despite the fact that non-smokers were given plenty of opportunity to turn in those who violated the ban.
According to a piece on the Shanghaiist blog in the middle of June, Beijing’s municipal government had set up a public account on WeChat called ‘No Smoking Beijing’, where users could upload pictures of smokers and tag their location. The account was said to feature anti-smoking videos, the full text of the banning regulations and information on smoking-related health impacts.
And for those who didn’t use WeChat, Beijing set up a hotline, 12320, through which smokers could be reported.
Although the number of violations recorded seemed to be low, Zhang Jianshu, chairman of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, urged authorities in the police, city management and health departments to co-ordinate with each other to ensure better implementation of the smoking ban.
Meanwhile, China National Tobacco Corporation officials apologized for preventing inspectors from entering its training center.
They must have got in eventually, however, because Wang Benjin, a Beijing Health Inspection law enforcement officer, said his team had identified many violations at the training center, including a lack of a tobacco control system, cigarette butt litter and cigarette advertisements on office paraphernalia.