China Continues to Smoke Despite the Signed up Accord with WHO

On the date by which China had assured to prohibit smoking at all indoor public places, workers of law enforcement agencies found many people smoking in bars, cafes, hospitals and on public transport.

This ban should have started yesterday in accordance with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which China signed up five years ago.

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The given accord prohibits smoking in public venues, public transport, workplaces and also includes special smoking verification measures as for instance graphic warning on cigarette packs, limitations on tobacco advertising and protections against the influence of passive smoking. Its conditions should have come into force yesterday.

Health officials and legislators from Shanghai, where a smoking control action was implemented last year, state that without a national law, it is rather difficult to monitor smoking in the city.

“We are conducting a survey in order to determine local efforts directed at smoking control in the past five years, tacking into account the overall percentage of smokers and the predominance of smoking in public venues. We will do the best in order to assure that the city’s smoking control effects are going in accordance with the framework,” stated Zhang Liqiang from the Shanghai Health Education Institute.

The majority of supporters of a ban on smoking declare that the present laws and their implementation are too weak.

“I feel unwell after smelling tobacco smoke. The law is quite good, but the implementation is too simple,” said one Shanghai resident.

“I have to hold my breath or to move aside from smokers in order to escape from inhaling smoke or I simply leave the room where smokers are present, because it is uselessly to try to make them stop smoking,” he said.

Many restaurant workers are closing yeas to smokers, because they are afraid to incur losses.

Su Long, a restaurant worker, is trying to stop people smoking from time to time but without significant results. “Some people ignore my advice. I do not have other solutions. It is impossible to ask smoking customers to leave our restaurant,” he stated.

A taxi driver, Zheng Zhong, stated that he generally asked passengers not to smoke once, but never twice. “In case you start to insist on it, they extinguish the cigarettes, but it usually leads to a quarrel”.

Currently, the China Association on Tobacco Control has required for films and TV series not to show smoking scenes and also to prohibit product placement.

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