Changing China

Giant on the move

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Smoke gets in your eyes


An elderly man smokes from a pipe at sidewalk in BeijingIn 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised that the Beijing Olympics would be “smoke-free”.

So far, though, there has been no word on the rules and regulations that will prevent the world’s most enthusiastic smokers from puffing away while watching the Games this August.

There was brief flurry of excitement around the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day last May when some officials said the policy would be announced, but it never materialised. The rules, to be decided by the Beijing municipal government, are promsied soon.    

Some 320 million Chinese (and a few expat Westerners) draw on nearly 2 trillion cigarettes every year.