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In a country of smokers, Beijing imposes tough new ban on lighting up indoors

BEIJING, China - 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.Fines for violators have been raised to 200 yuan ($32), up from the 10 yuan ($1.6) charged under the former partial ban.The World Health Organization says 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.

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