China to control public smoking nationwide by year-end
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.
China has the world’s largest smoking population, with 28 percent of all adults and half of its adult men estimated to smoke regularly.
The World Health Organisation says 1 million people in China die of tobacco-related illnesses annually, with second-hand smoke contributing to another 100,000 deaths.
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 (US$1450).
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 spokesperson Mao Qunan indicated measures would be rolled out across the country soon.
Nearly 20 cities have already drawn up public no-smoking rules, Mr Mao added. The commission first drafted the law in late 2014.
Enforcing anti-smoking measures can be difficult in China as the staterun tobacco industry provides the government with colossal sums – 1.1 trillion yuan ($160 billion) in taxes and profits in 2015, up 20pc year-on-year.
An anti-smoking advocate performs a dance as anti-smoking messages hang from the Bird’s Nest Stadium to mark ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in Beijing.