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Shanghai urges smokers to stick to designated areas

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-01 09:18

The Shanghai Health Promotion Commission wants smokers to refrain from smoking while walking and is encouraging them to smoke only at designated sites outdoors to minimize the impact on non-smokers, the commission said during a recent media interview.

The Regulations on Smoking Control in Public Places of Shanghai came into effect 14 years ago.

They were the first local regulations on tobacco control promulgated by a provincial-level legislative body in China, and helped promote the adoption of tobacco control regulations in cities across the country.

In March 2017, Shanghai banned smoking in indoor public spaces.

Two hundred demonstration sites for designated outdoor smoking areas, including those at venues including commercial complexes, sports centers, parks, exhibition centers, public transportation hubs and hotels, have been constructed, and more are underway.

The commission said that while smokers in Shanghai now refrain from smoking indoors, their smoking outdoors has become a problem.

On World No Tobacco Day last year, which fell on May 31, Shanghai released standard no-smoking signs, signs for designated smoking sites outdoors, and those guiding individuals to such sites.

The city has also compiled the country's first construction standard for designated outdoor smoking sites.

By the end of 2030, Shanghai aims to bring the secondhand smoke exposure rate to below 36 percent for adult non-smokers and below 10 percent for minors. The figure for adult non-smokers was 41.7 percent in 2022, a decrease of 9.8 percentage points from the previous year.

The commission said 37 standardized clinics to help people quit smoking have been built across the city. They can carry out comprehensive assessments and formulate personalized smoking cessation plans for smokers. Residents can also dial 12320, the city's smoking cessation hotline, to seek professional guidance while trying to quit smoking.

"Smokers who aspire to stop the smoking habit are also encouraged to join health self-management groups in their respective communities," said Chen De, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission.

"Such groups can provide peer education on smoking cessation under the guidance of family doctors."

The latest figures, from 2022, showed that the adult smoking rate in Shanghai had dropped by 7.5 percentage points to 19.4 percent since the tobacco control legislation was enacted, allowing the city to achieve the target set in the Healthy China 2030 Initiative ahead of schedule.

The cigarette and e-cigarette usage rate among middle school students in Shanghai is the lowest among the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland.

Furthermore, the latest official numbers showed that the average life expectancy in Shanghai was 84.11 years, the highest among all the provincial-level areas in China.

Wu Fan, vice-dean of the Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, said the city will take various steps, including tobacco control education at schools and public events, to help teenagers avoid smoking altogether or postpone the time they accept their first cigarette.

The city aims to reduce the smoking rate among minors aged between 11 and 18 to below 4 percent by 2030.

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