A ban on public smoking ban took effect Monday in Beijing, covering all indoor public areas (including offices) as well as parks, school grounds, and stadiums—a major public health move in a country where smoking is quite popular. From the New York Times:
The World Health Organization says that 300 million Chinese smoke, including about half of all men, and that 740 million Chinese are exposed to secondhand smoke. The group says lung cancer kills more than 1.3 million people in the country each year — a third of the global total.
The high incidence of lung cancer in the country is attributed to both smoking and widespread air pollution, with conditions in Beijing known to be particularly dangerous.
The BBC notes that past Chinese leaders such as Deng Xiaoping were often seen with cigarettes. From 1986:
Current Chinese leader Xi Jinping does not smoke; his wife is an anti-smoking campaigner, and he has banned Communist Party officials from smoking in public. (As the Atlantic points out, though, China has a state-run economy, which means that the government now trying to curb smoking also manufactures cigarettes.)