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China Says You Can No Longer Smoke Cigarettes In Public Spaces In Beijing

China is both the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of cigarettes.

Posted on June 1, 2015, at 12:51 p.m. ET

Beijing has banned smoking in public places, through a law passed last year that came into effect on Monday. Here’s a tweet from the government-owned Xinhua news agency.

Beijing enacts toughest ban on smoking indoors from June 1, public look forward to big change

China’s capital now forbids people lighting up in places such as restaurants, workplaces, and on public transport, the BBC reported.

China Stringer Network / Reuters

Restaurant staff smash ashtrays in Beijing to mark the new antismoking rules on Monday.

The government has also recommended that people use these hand gestures to encourage others not to smoke, Reuters reported.

Beijing rolls out tough smoking ban, and came up with these three hand signals to stop smokers

China is really big on smoking – it’s home to 300 million smokers and consumes one-third of the world’s cigarettes, the World Health Organization says.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

A smoker walks past Chinese flags in front of a restaurant in Beijing on May 11.

Smoking is particularly widespread among men — over half of Chinese men smoke, the WHO says. Fancy cigarettes are often given as a gift for government officials.

The China National Tobacco Corp., a Chinese government-owned company, is also the world's biggest manufacturer of cigarettes, as Bloomberg reported in December.

But China’s President Xi Jinping isn't a smoker. In fact, he banned Communist party officials from smoking in public places in 2013, halting so-called ashtray diplomacy, The Atlantic reported at the time.

Saul Loeb / AP

Jinping and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meet in Beijing on May 17.

China has tried similar bans in 1996 and 2008, but they were largely ignored, the New York Times reported. The new rules are much tougher than those set in the past.

Anyone in Beijing who breaks the new rules must pay a 200 yuan ($32.25) fine, which is 20 times the current and largely ignored penalty, Reuters reported. Businesses will also be fined if smoking takes place on their premises.

Anyone who breaks the law three times will also be named and shamed on a government website, according to Reuters.