Anti-smoking suit

Last week a Beijing court ruled that a railway authority should remove all smoking zones and ashtrays on a train.

Last week a Beijing court ruled that a railway authority should remove all smoking zones and ashtrays on a train.

This lawsuit, allegedly the first of its kind, was filed by a college student surnamed Li, who was upset by passengers smoking between carriages. She demanded removal of smoking areas and ashtrays on this train and related platforms, as well as a refund of 102.5 yuan (US$15.5), the value of her ticket, and 1 yuan as compensation.

The defendant, Harbin Railway Bureau, argued that having smoking areas between carriages was not against the law, and there was no evidence that Li’s health was affected during her travel.

But it is provided in both Beijing and Tianjin’s smoking regulations — like Shanghai — that anywhere with a roof should be smoke-free. This certainly applies to trains, since they are closed areas. As the train Li took was within the jurisdiction of Beijing and Tianjin, allowing smoking violates the regulation and should be rectified and punished.

Li also supplied evidence that secondhand smoking did have a detrimental impact on the train environment. According to an on-site investigation conducted by reporters from Beijing Youth Daily, smoking could quadruple the PM2.5 density in carriages.


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