Pattaya Daily News

25 March 2011 :: 14:03:03 pm 52030

China Bans Smoking As Of May 1st

SHANGHAI, China – China has announced that the country’s smoking ban will be applied in May, where smoking will be prohibited in parks, hotels, theatres, museums and restaurants but not offices, as well as banning tobacco in vending machines
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Beijing had signed the World Trade Organization (WTO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control five years ago. The country had previously committed to introducing the ban by January 9 this year, but it failed to meet the deadline due to a lack of state-level legislation, ineffective administration, low-priced cigarettes and deep-rooted tobacco culture. Smoking is so deeply rooted in the Chinese society that even offering a cigarette is a common way of greeting. World Health Organization statistics show that China has more than 300 million smokers and nearly 1.2 million Chinese people die from smoking-related diseases each year, making up 20 percent of the world total.

According to the state-run China Daily paper, Wu Yiqun, deputy director of Beijing’s independent Think Tank Research Centre for Health Development, said the ban was “a great improvement for China’s anti-smoking campaign”.

Many experts doubt that the ban will be successful in the short term. Jiang Huan, deputy director of China’s National Tobacco Control Office, said that rules might not be followed if specific punishments are not reinforced.

Last year in Shanghai, a ban was introduced before World’s Expo but the ban was a failure as smokers continued to light up openly in front of “no smoking” signs in hotels, restaurants and conference halls. Authorities issued one fine in the first three months of the Shanghai ban. In the first year of the ban, only five people and 12 venues were penalized in the city of over 20 million people, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Similarly, Beijing tried to introduce a smoking ban before the 2008 Olympic Games, but this has also been widely violated.

“It will take a long time, maybe 50 years, to realize our original goal of smoke-free public venues,” municipal legislator Sun Shiyun told the Shanghai Daily this month.

According to a January report by Chinese and foreign medical experts, smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke result in a huge medical and social cost in China.

China accounts for one in five of the world’s smoking deaths. More than 3.5 million Chinese are likely to die from smoking-related illnesses each year by 2030, experts said.

Report by : Yahoo News

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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