Heroic Chinese Smokers Say No to Health Nannies

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Beijing’s first smoke-free restaurant chain faces going out of business after its customers deserted it in droves after the ban was enforced, state media reported on Friday.

The Chinese are the world’s most enthusiastic smokers, with a growing market of more than 350 million, making it a magnet for cigarette companies and a focus of international health concerns.

The occupancy rate at Meizhou Dongpo, a chain serving the spicy fare of southwest Sichuan province, had dropped to “about 80 percent of that enjoyed by other restaurants across the street” after it banned smoking in October, the China Daily quoted its manager as saying.

…Beijing authorities had written to 30,000 restaurants asking them to put smoking bans in place, but not a single one had taken up the suggestion…

In spite of the resistance to the Nanny State, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is promising a “smoke-free” Olympics.

8:02 pm on January 20, 2008
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