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India smoking: A ban in Mumbai sticks.

Dirty India cleans up its lungs. What do smokers think?

“Here we only have a young crowd who comes for smoking,” says the manager, Navin Patil, as we sit inside the non-smoking and rather boring indoor section. “That’s why this place is vacant, and it’s full outside.”

India has also been unsuccessful at cracking down on smoking in rural areas and on the use of other forms of tobacco like local cigarettes called beedis and paan, says Vidya Krishnan, who covers public health for the Indian Express.

“The sheer size of the population makes it impossible for the government to actually implement anything successfully,” she says.

In Mumbai, it may not be totally comprehensive, but the ban works more effectively than in places like New York and Los Angeles. Even if you are sitting in an outdoor cafe, even if you try negotiating with the waiter – “But sir, we are outside!” – he won’t budge.

“Smoking,” he says, “is not allowed.”