There were 3.99 million smokers in Beijing at the end of 2017, 200,000 fewer than there were before the city’s smoking ban came into force eighteen months earlier, according to a Xinhua News Agency story quoting the Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission.

However, the story did not say whether the fall in the incidence of smoking had been caused by the smoking ban; or by other factors, such as price increases.

Beijing implemented what has been described as the ‘strictest smoking ban in history’ on June 1, 2015, prohibiting smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, and on public transportation.

At the same time, medical institutes in Beijing offered smoking cessation services to more than 7.4 million people, while 61 hospitals in the city opened smoking cessation clinics.

In 2017, 95 percent of inspected public places were found to be operating in accordance with the no-smoking regulation, up from 77 percent in the middle of 2015.

Medical institutions, schools and hotels had the best implementation records. Internet cafes and KTVs [karaoke bars] tended to violate the regulation most frequently.

“We will intensify supervision in 2018 and continue to conduct undercover and targeted inspections,” said the Commission’s Liu Zejun. “We also encourage the public to report to us if they see any violation.”

More than 14,800 volunteers were said to have given 77,000 hours of their time to assist in dealing with 4,547 smoking-related complaints in Beijing during 2017.

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