A Chinese lawmaker has called for a nationwide ban on smoking in indoor public places.
The proposal was brought by Chen Jingyu, a cardiothoracic surgery expert and deputy at the 13th National People’s Congress.
As of February, 20 cities had adopted regional laws to restrict indoor smoking in public venues, but that is not adequate for China to achieve its Healthy China Action Plan, Chen told The Global Times. The Healthy China Action Plan aims for more than 80 percent of China’s population to be covered by smoke-free protections by 2030.
Currently, there are more than 300 million smokers in China, and more than 1 million people die of smoking-related diseases annually, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Allowing special smoking areas in indoor public places, such as restaurants, entertainment venues and airport terminals, violates the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Chen noted. Scientific research shows that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and the only way to effectively prevent nonsmokers from suffering from secondhand smoke is to completely ban smoking in indoor environments.
The FCTC requires all indoor public places, public transport facilities and indoor workplaces to be smoke-free.
China signed the FCTC in 2003, ratified it in 2005, and the treaty came into legal force in China in 2006.
In a survey conducted by the China Association for Smoking Control, 91.9 percent of respondents expressed support for a smoking ban.