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Tighter smoking ban needed

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-18 07:26

Tighter smoking ban needed

Non-smoking banners are displayed on the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, capital of China on June 1, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to a recent report jointly published by the World Health Organization and United Nations Development Programme, the economic losses associated with tobacco use in China were about 350 billion yuan ($50.82 billion) in 2014 and more than 1 million people die of tobacco-related diseases every year.

Tobacco use is one of the main causes of cancer in China, a WHO official has warned. China has a smoking population of more than 300 million and 740 million people are often exposed to secondhand smoke. This once again highlights the need for the government to introduce a full nationwide ban on smoking in public places.

The harm caused by tobacco use is so great that nearly 92 percent of the public support a full ban on smoking in all indoor public places, indoor workplaces and public transport, a survey conducted by Chinese Association on Tobacco Control in 10 cities in late February showed.

The government has made efforts to curb smoking by, among other things, making local laws and regulations that ban smoking in indoor public places and raising the tobacco tax, but no obvious effects have been achieved, as no consensuses have been reached on the formulation and enforcement of a full ban on tobacco use.

As a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, China is often criticized for its impotent measures to control tobacco use, but it is the huge economic interests of the tobacco industry that serve as a major factor behind China's sluggish progress in promoting full tobacco control in public venues.

Tobacco control is essentially a competition among different interest groups. The obvious effects following Beijing's imposition of the strictest-ever ban on smoking indicate that only after a law banning tobacco use in public places is in place, can effective law enforcement be carried out.



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