Three Years of Smoke-Free Legislation: A Healthier Beijing

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Editor’s Note

This article was originally published on the World Health Organization’s WeChat Account. Please find the original here, in both Chinese and English.


Three years ago, Beijing implemented smoke-free laws that made it illegal to smoke indoors and in public places. Although three years may not seem like a long time, Beijing’s smoke-free legislation has already had a far reaching positive impact on the lives of many.

Here are some stories from those who have experienced the positive effects of smoke-free laws.

Yan Cuicui, mother of two children:

“Before Beijing’s smoke free legislation came into effect, I avoided bringing my child to public places where people smoke. Then, after Beijing’s smoke free laws were implemented, I saw the No Smoking signs and reporting hotline numbers displayed in public places. Seeing these things gave me the courage to speak up and dissuade smokers.”
“We all know that second-hand smoke is harmful to children’s lungs. As parents, it is our responsibility to protect our children’s health and their safety.”“For our children, as long as there is someone smoking, I will stand up out to ask them to step outside.”

Wang Wei, a medical practitioner in Beijing:

“I believe that the environment around all of us has drastically changed over the past three years. Patients’ visiting and rehabilitation environments as well as medical staffs’ working environments have all changed for the better.” “Before Beijing’s smoke-free legislation…you could smell thick tobacco smoke…in hospitals!  We always urged people not to smoke, but it was not until these laws were implemented that I saw major changes inside the hospital.”

Zheng Juan, the supervisor at a restaurant in Beijing:

“In just three years, our restaurant has changed from me having to stop two or three tables each day from smoking, to me having to stop just two or three tables each week. I do feel that the environment has changed for the better.”Additionally, my husband previously smoked for more than ten years. But, after Beijing became a smoke-free city, smoking became more of an inconvenience for him. Eventually, he quit smoking.”