Beijing has imposed China's toughest ban on indoor smoking in a major step to deal with a looming health crisis.
Beginning Monday, smoking will be prohibited in all indoor public places, including offices, shopping malls and airports.
Beijing's main terminal will close its three smoking rooms and special smoking areas will be set up at the city's 600 bus stops.
Health activists have pushed for years for stronger restrictions on smoking in China, the world's largest tobacco consumer, which is considering further anti-smoking curbs nationwide.
Anti-tobacco advocates said they were more confident in the government's will to enforce the bans after a series of tougher measures in recent months, including a bigger tobacco tax.
"We couldn't say this is the strongest law in the world," said Angela Pratt, of the Tobacco Free Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). "But it's certainly up there with the strongest, in that there are no exemptions, no exceptions and no loopholes on the indoor smoking ban requirement."
Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, according to WHO, and Beijing’s ban comes as more Chinese citizens are fighting for cleaner air in polluted cities.
Under the rules, anyone in China's capital who violates the bans, which include smoking near schools and hospitals, must pay 200 yuan or about $32 at the rate of 6.22 yuan to $1. The current fine, seldom enforced, is just 10 yuan.
Anyone who breaks the law three times will be named and shamed on a government website. And businesses can be fined up to 10,000 yuan for failing to stamp out smoking on their premises.
"Restaurant staff have a duty to try to dissuade people from smoking," said Mao Qunan, of the National Health and Family Planning Commission. "If they don't listen to persuasion, then law enforcement authorities will file a case against them."
The government will also no longer allow cigarettes to be sold to shops within 328 feet of primary schools and kindergartens, according to state media.
Acording to WHO, 300 million Chinese smoke, including about half of all men, and 740 million Chinese are exposed to second-hand smoke. The group says lung cancer kills more than 1.3 million people in the country each year, one-third of the global total.
Many Chinese cities have banned smoking in outdoor public places, but enforcement has been lax.
Bright red banners, typically used to display government slogans, have been posted around Beijing with anti-smoking messages. The city has also set up a hot line on which violators can be reported, the China Daily reported.
The names of people and companies who violate the rules more than three times will be posted on a government website for a month, state radio said.