You have to hand it to one-party systems. Despite their many flaws, one positive point is that they can get things done quickly. Over the past decade or so, Japan has been gradually reducing the number of public places where smoking is permitted, and raising the price of tobacco in baby steps in an effort to curb the once rampant smoking culture in the country.

In Beijing, meanwhile, from 1 June the entire city has been put on lockdown for smokers. From now on, anyone caught smoking inside any enclosed place of business will be fined. Just like that.

Beijing’s no-smoking ordinance will apply to all restaurants, office buildings, airports, and train stations. Not only that, smoking outside designated areas can also net you a fine of 200 yuan (US$32).

Sale of tobacco within 100 meters (328 feet) of schools is also now prohibited. In addition, smokeasies – bars or restaurants with illegal smoking sections – may be fined up to 30,000 yuan ($4,800). The move has already attracted recognition by the World Health Organization.

It is said that the ban is an effort for the city to improve its soft-on-smoking image as it bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. However, some in China are skeptical of the plan, with one commenter writing: “Why don’t they just shut down the tobacco factories if they are really serious?”

The answer to that question probably lies in the fact that China is by far the largest producer of tobacco in the world. Despite improving their image, the government certainly isn’t ready to part with all that income just yet.

In business news, something tells us that now might be a great time to invest in a Beijing-based e-cigarette company.

Source: Sankei News via Toychan
Video: NewChinaTV