World Lung Foundation hails Beijing smoking ban – says work needed to help build support, encourage compliance
World Lung Foundation today hailed the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress for making Beijing the world’s largest smokefree city. The Congress passed a ban on smoking in indoor public places, in some outdoor public places and on public transport. In addition, tobacco advertising, sponsorship and marketing is being restricted and internet and vending machine sales of tobacco products to minors will be made illegal. The legislation will come into force on June 1, 2015.
Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation, said: “This is a great day for the health of Beijing’s 21 million residents. With this life-saving, giant step forward, Beijing sends out a clear message that smoking is dangerous, that it should be discouraged and that people, particularly children and youth, should be protected from the harms of tobacco.
“What will be critical, in the coming months, is to increase awareness about the harms of tobacco and second-hand smoke, the fact the legislation is coming into force, and the penalties for flouting the laws. Mass media campaigns to educate and inform in advance of June 1st and immediately afterwards will help to build acceptance and compliance with the new law.
“This is a hugely positive development for public health and tobacco control, and Beijing has set a new standard for the rest of China to follow. We hope the national legislation currently under consideration will be just as comprehensive. We applaud the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress for passing this legislation and stand ready to support them on the months ahead.”
The law bans smoking in ALL indoor public places, work places and public transport. It also bans smoking in some outdoor areas such as historic places, elementary and middle schools, gymnasiums, women and children’s hospitals, as well as waiting lines, etc. It contains other tobacco control measures such as no sales to minors and banning tobacco advertising in radio, films, television, newspapers, periodicals, audio and video products, electronic publications, mobile telecommunications networks, Internet, billboards, and all public transport and public places. It also bans promotion and sponsorships using tobacco brands
Tobacco use in China
According to The Tobacco Atlas, a Chinese version of which was launched in Beijing in 2013, China is the largest consumer of tobacco, the largest producer of tobacco leaf and the largest tobacco manufacturer in the world. There are more than 300 million smokers in the country, comprising 28 per cent of the adult population. Over half of Chinese men smoke and between them they consume a third of the world’s cigarettes. Smoking causes an estimated 1 million deaths in China each year and this is expected to rise to 3 million deaths each year by 2050 if current smoking rates are not reduced.
The high level of smoking prevalence also leads to high levels of exposure to second hand smoke in the home, in workplaces and other public places. Nearly half of Chinese youth (47 per cent) are exposed to second hand smoke in the home, according to The Atlas. Exposure to second hand smoke kills approximately 100,000 people in China every year, and represents a real public health problem. Comprehensive smoke-free laws, as required by the WHO FCTC – which was ratified by China in 2005 – are the only way to help protect people against exposure to second-hand smoke in workplaces and public places.
Source: World Lung Foundation (WLF)