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Smoking in China

Smoking -- Virtually all hotels, except those in the rock-bottom category, have nonsmoking rooms, and many restaurants, especially large ones and those in hotels, have nonsmoking sections (some are even entirely smoke free). Smoking is also prohibited in cinemas, shopping malls, supermarkets, department stores, and banks. Under proposed legislation, the smoking ban will be extended to all indoor spaces (including restaurants and bars) by July 2009.

Smoking -- The government of China is the world's biggest cigarette manufacturer. China is home to 20% of the world's population but 30% of the world's cigarettes. About one million people a year in China die of smoking-related illnesses. Nonsmoking tables in restaurants are almost unheard of, and NO SMOKING signs are favorite places beneath which to smoke, especially in elevators. Smokers are generally sent to the spaces between the carriages on trains, but they won't bother to go there if no one protests. Similarly on air-conditioned buses: Some people will light up to see if they can get away with it (but usually they'll be told to put it out).

Smoking -- China has more smokers than any other nation, an estimated 350 million, accounting for one of every three cigarettes consumed worldwide. About 70% of the men smoke. Recent antismoking campaigns have led to laws banning smoking on all forms of public transport (including taxis) and in waiting rooms and terminals, a ban, which has, surprisingly, been largely observed (except on long-distance buses). Top hotels provide nonsmoking rooms and floors, and a few restaurants have begun to set aside nonsmoking tables and sections. Still, expect to encounter more smoking in public places in China than in most Western countries.

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