Kindergarteners and other students in Beijing are no longer getting a daily dose of tobacco smoke, whether first- or second-hand, according to a new report from the state-owned China Daily. China’s national ban on indoor smoking, which launched May 1, has been an uphill battle in many of the country’s restaurants and hotels, but in Beijing’s primary and secondary schools, the big breather appears to be working, the newspaper said.
Beijing schools implemented the ban earlier in May, following a separate poll that showed 25% of the city’s high school students have smoked, and 9% of students claimed to be addicted to cigarettes, the report said. Prior to the ban, teachers also commonly smoked on school campuses, but now most Beijing campuses are smoke-free, China Daily said, without indicating how many schools it surveyed for the story. “Teachers with the smoking habit used to light up in the school’s public restrooms,” the newspaper quoted Yang Jie, a high school teacher, as saying. “But now they have to go off campus.”
China has the world’s largest number of smokers, with nearly a quarter of the country’s 1.34 billion people lighting up. Deaths related to tobacco illnesses amount to around 1 million each year, according “Tobacco Control and China’s Future,” a report issued in January by a group of 60 Chinese public-health experts.