On the sidewalk, in a hospital, directly in front of a "No Smoking" sign.
Smokers are a nearly inescapable part of life in China, though the government is trying to change that. Earlier this week, China's Ministry of Education banned smoking in public schools. To enforce the rule, schools must now install smoke alarms or surveillance cameras to spot violators. They'll also have to stop selling tobacco products at their canteens, and can't accept sponsorships or ads from cigarette companies. Universities can no longer allow smoking inside academic buildings, though they can maintain designated smoking areas on campus.
It's only the latest in a string of efforts to curb the nation's smoking habit. Though citywide bans are rarely observed or enforced, China also announced plans to ban smoking on all public property nationwide at some point this year.
That'll be a tough sell. China is the world's largest consumer of cigarettes, with an estimated 350 million smokers who light up an average of nearly five times a day.
Before any nationwide ban takes place, the Communist Party hopes to lead by example. A government circular published last month asked Party officials to not only encourage each other to quit smoking but stated that they should not smoke in public places or buy cigarettes using public money. Anyone who breaks the rules, according to the document, will be"criticized and educated about their evil influence."
The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.