China aims to impose a nationwide ban on smoking in public places this year, as authorities move to stamp out a widespread practice that has taken a severe toll on citizens’ health.
China, home to some 300 million smokers, is the world’s largest consumer of tobacco, and smoking is a ubiquitous part of social life, particularly for men.
Tougher regulation of smoking is a priority this year, officials from the National Health and Family Planning Commission said this week, adding that the agency was pushing lawmakers to toughen laws on tobacco use.
“Compared to the damage to health that smoking causes, tobacco’s economic benefits are trivial,” Mao Qun’an, a spokesman for the commission, told a news conference on Tuesday.
The drumbeat to reduce tobacco use has grown steadily louder in the past few years, but experts say China’s powerful tobacco industry, which has resisted raising cigarette prices and use of health warnings on cigarette packs, has been a tough opponent.
The nationwide smoking ban has long been in the works. Several cities have banned smoking in public places, but enforcement has been lax. …
China has banned its officials from smoking in public to set an example to the rest of the country that has the world’s largest number of smokers.
The official Xinhua News Agency said officials are not allowed to smoke in schools, hospitals, sports venues, on public transport or any other places where smoking is banned, or to smoke or offer cigarettes when performing official duties.
They also cannot use public funds to buy cigarettes, and within Communist Party or government offices tobacco products cannot be sold nor adverts displayed.
via TheNewsDaily (2013)
China was still working on the ban in 2016.
In announcing its plans to roll out a public smoking ban across the country by the end of this year, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is taking on a Herculean task. Considering that China has one of the world’s most deeply ingrained and stubborn smoking cultures, getting 1.3 billion people to quit lighting up in public is going to take massive social and economic changes. If the central government’s plans do make headway, however, countless lives and could be saved from the ravages of tobacco. With 300 million smokers accounting for one in every three cigarettes smoked in the world, China’s tobacco problem is an epidemic.
In Bejing in 2018, enforcement was said to be losing steam.
Hong Kong has some legislation that appears to have been put aside or is being enforced half-heartedly. The smoking ban is a case in point. Years after the indoor ban was widened to cover some outdoor premises, the momentum in enforcement is somewhat losing steam.
It appears the threat of a ban made money for those selling tobacco in China.
Earlier this year, the city of Hangzhou, home to the internet giant Alibaba, was poised to join Beijing, Shanghai and a handful of other urban areas in banning smoking in public places, part of a long-running campaign against tobacco use in China.
But, like the country’s broader anti-smoking campaign, the Hangzhou initiative then lost momentum. Instead of blanket bans on smoking in public indoor spaces, the city revised its regulations to allow smoking in designated areas in train or bus stations, as well as in bars or karaoke clubs.
Opposition to the tougher rules, according to a top national tobacco control official, was led by China National Tobacco Corp, the state monopoly.
The company has reported rising sales over the last year, which anti-tobacco campaigners say has helped to stall earlier successes in the national anti-smoking campaign. …
An increase in the wholesale tax from 5 percent to 11 percent in 2015 is largely credited with the 2.3 and 5.6 percent drops in cigarette sales volumes in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
But Hu Teh-wei, an expert on China’s tobacco industry at the University of California, Berkeley, said that impact had now been blunted and that significant tax hikes were needed to seriously deter smokers, a prospect he said was not currently under consideration in China.
Perhaps people insist on this form of self-harm because they can’t help it, cigarettes are just too addictive. Don’t start and you’ll never have to quit.