China’s railway system is now banning passengers caught smoking on its high-speed trains from purchasing future train tickets.
The ban, which came into effect on Monday, will follow a two-step system: first-time offenders of the anti-smoking law will be fined and temporarily banned from buying train tickets. After an unspecified period of time, offenders will have to sign a contract before having their purchasing privileges reinstated. If the offender commits a second smoking offence, they can be banned from purchasing train tickets for life.
The new law will be enforced by the Public Security Bureau.
Smoking on high-speed trains can trigger smoke alarms that can cause the train to slow down or even stop. Over 20 such instances occurred in less than a month aboard trains in Chengdu, Sichuan in January of last year.
This past June, the National Health and Family Planning Commission submitted a draft national ban prohibiting smokers from lighting up in restaurants, bars, schools and hospitals throughout China.
With over half of all men in China estimated to be smokers, cigarette use in China has been blamed for a growing epidemic of smoking-related health problems. A medical study published in the Lancet medical journal suggests that up to a third of all Chinese men will die from smoking unless they immediately quit.
More than 1 million people in China die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.