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Public Smoking Snuffed in Beijing Before Olympics

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In a country where cigarettes are so popular that more than half of all male doctors smoke, China has put the kibosh on public smoking in the capital city of Beijing, USA Today reports.

The crackdown, in advance of the Olympic Games that begin in August, affects most public buildings. But restaurants, bars, and hotels will still allow smoking, assuming they also provide areas that are smoke-free.

Second-hand smoke kills some 100,000 Chinese annually, according to government estimates cited by the newspaper.

Earlier this month, experts raised concern over Olympic athletes' health amid Beijing's pervasive air pollution problem. A senior health official in Beijing acknowledged this week that China has 320 million smokers, or close to one-quarter of the world's total, USA Today said.