Smoking in China is as much a part of the culture as spitting or squatting on the street.
At restaurants, patrons will light up without any regard for his fellow diners. They even puff in hospitals, right under a No Smoking sign.
Once a man got into the elevator with me with a lit cigarette. And then he puffed on it the moment he got off.
It almost seems like smoking is an inalienable right of the Chinese.
But soon that will not be the case anymore in Beijing.
The municipal government is looking into passing a law banning smoking in public places, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, fitness centers, toilets and schools. Anyone caught violating the law will be fined 50RMB (US$6.90).
This is all part of the government's pledge to have a smoke-free and Green Olympics.
In a report on China Radio International, some smokers were interviewed and said of course they wouldn't smoke in public places. And besides, one added, it's for the good of society.
Where do they find these people?
What's interesting is that China was awarded the Games seven years ago. In its bid, Beijing promised a non-smoking Olympics, and now less than 187 days to August 8, the government is pushing this smoking ban.
How it will be enforced is also questionable. While there are 350 million smokers in China, there's easily several million of them in Beijing.
Either we'll see more smokers butting out, but more likely we'll find more closet smokers itching for a puff anywhere they can get it.