China to con­trol public smok­ing na­tion­wide by year-end

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

China, the world’s big­gest cig­a­rette pro­ducer and con­sumer, aims to im­pose na­tional smok­ing-con­trol reg­u­la­tions by the end of this year, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day. The Asian gi­ant has the world’s largest smok­ing pop­u­la­tion, with 28 per­cent of all adults and half of its adult men es­ti­mated to reg­u­larly use cig­a­rettes. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) says a mil­lion peo­ple in China die of to­bac- co-re­lated ill­nesses an­nu­ally, with sec­ond-hand smoke con­tribut­ing to some 100,000 deaths each year. In June 2015 Bei­jing mu­nic­i­pal­ity adopted the tough­est anti-smok­ing leg­is­la­tion in the coun­try, ban­ning smok­ing in of­fices, restau­rants, ho­tels and hos­pi­tals.

Venues that flout the ban can face fines of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,450). Last week Shang­hai also amended its tobacco reg­u­la­tions to ban in­door smok­ing and also out­door smok­ing at public ar­eas such as bus stops, schools and sta­di­ums. At a WHO con­fer­ence in the com­mer­cial hub, govern­ment health spokesman Mao Qu­nan in­di­cated mea­sures would be rolled out across the coun­try. “The na­tion­wide reg­u­la­tion to con­trol smok­ing in public is un­der­go­ing the leg­isla­tive process and is hoped to be an­nounced and car­ried out this year,” he told re­porters.

“Strictly con­trol­ling smok­ing in public places through le­gal forms is an ad­vance­ment for health.” Nearly 20 ci­ties have al­ready drawn up public nosmok­ing rules, Mao added.

The com­mis­sion first drafted the law in late 2014. En­forc­ing anti-smok­ing mea­sures can be dif­fi­cult in China as the state-run tobacco in­dus­try pro­vides the govern­ment with colos­sal sums — 1.1 tril­lion yuan ($160 bil­lion) in taxes and prof­its in 2015, up 20 per­cent yearon-year. China’s tobacco reg­u­la­tor shares of­fices and se­nior of­fi­cials with the state-owned China Na­tional Tobacco Corp-a near-mo­nop­oly and by far the world’s big­gest cig­a­rette pro­ducer. WHO di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mar­garet Chan called on more ci­ties “to make sure that the tobacco con­trol in China will make fur­ther progress”.

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