• May 26, 2024

Smoking ban a priority

Smog China photo
Photo by Dean Hochman

About 10 percent of the population of China has legal protection against second-hand tobacco smoke, according to a story in The China Daily citing a new report.

The report, A Civil Society Perspective on Tobacco Control in China 2016, was published on Tuesday by the ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development (TRCHD), which the Daily described as one of the country’s most outspoken NGOs committed to tobacco control.

To date, only three Chinese cities – Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen – have imposed smoking bans in public places, while some smaller cities have introduced local laws on tobacco control.

“That’s far from enough and a national tobacco control law is imperative to provide a legal basis for fighting, in particular, passive smoking,” said Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the TRCHD.

Beijing introduced its tobacco control law in June 2015 when it banned tobacco smoking in all public places, such as workplaces, schools, hospitals and airports.

Citing figures from surveys by local health administrations, the report said that since the implementation of the law, the number of smokers in the capital had fallen by 200,000.

The World Health Organization’s China representative Bernhard Schwartlander praised Beijing for its tobacco control law, but added that “the fight is far from over”.

Implementing a national law was a top priority for 2017, Schwartlander said.

In November, National Health and Family Planning Commission spokesman Mao Qun’an said a national law would be implemented by the end of the 2016. But it wasn’t.