December 29, 2010 - Beijing will strive to make all the city's indoor public places, workplaces and public transport smoke-free by 2015, said local health authorities.
Hospitals, schools, theaters, museums, business halls, stadiums, offices of enterprises and government organizations, as well as buses, taxies and subways, should hopefully be smoke-free by then, said Mao Yu, spokesman of the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau, at a news conference held Friday, December 24th.
The municipal government issued a smoking ban in the above places in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympics, but the rules haven't been effectively implemented. (Beijing to ban smoking in most public areas from May 2008, beijing2008.cn, 4/24/2008)
Background: Each year, 5.4 million people die of smoking-related diseases worldwide, one fifth of whom are in China. The country now has 350 million smokers on the mainland, including 180 million teenagers, WHO statistics showed. Without effective intervention, another 100 million Chinese will die from smoking-related illness by 2050, half of them aged between 30 and 60, experts estimated.Mao said, "The current smoking-control regulations still need to be improved."
Yang Gonghuan, head of the National Office of Tobacco Control, said that progress in reducing the number of smokers had almost stalled since China ratified FCTC in 2003.
The municipal government issued a smoking ban in the above places in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympics, but the rules haven't been effectively implemented. China's tobacco consumption has been rising in recent decades, from nearly 590 billion cigarettes in 1978 to roughly 2.3 trillion in 2009, statistics on the website of the China National Tobacco Corporation showed. And cigarette production has increased by 33 percent since 2002.
China's tobacco consumption has been rising in recent decades, from nearly 590 billion cigarettes in 1978 to roughly 2.3 trillion in 2009, statistics on the website of the China National Tobacco Corporation showed. And cigarette production has increased by 33 percent since 2002.
As the tobacco industry reportedly generated more than 513 billion yuan ($77 billion) in taxes in 2009, accounting for 7.5 percent of total government revenues.
Despite a lack of national legislation, by 2010 more than half of China's 337 large and medium-sized cities had issued regulations to ban smoking in certain public areas, said the report.
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology administers China's largest tobacco producer. Currently, China National Tobacco Corporation, the largest cigarette-maker in China and reportedly the largest worldwide, makes 95 percent of China's tobacco products and is a subsidiary of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, which is under the ministry.
NGO calls for tough action on tobacco control, Source: China Daily(By Shan Juan), People's Daily Online, 12/29/2010.
He said the first step was for health authorities to better implement the smoking ban in medical institutions, as a drop in medical professionals smoking could set an example for society.
China is home to 350 million smokers, a third of the global total. It ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003, pledging measures to effectively curb tobacco use and ban smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport.
Reference: Beijing aims for smoke-free indoor public spaces by 2015, Source: Xinhua, People's Daily Online, 12/26/2010.
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