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Officiasl Banned from Public Smoking in China

Update Date: Dec 30, 2013 10:39 AM EST

Smoking has been tied to causing lung and oral cancer. Due to the long-term health risks involved with cigarettes, several nations throughout the world have created many anti-smoking programs. In the United States, cigarette packages must provide warning labels about what smoking can do to one's health. Now, in China, the government has asked officials to take the lead against smoking by banning them from smoking in public places.

According to the Xin Hua news agency, the circular from the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State council revealed a new law forbidding officials from smoking in places such as schools, hospitals, public transport vehicle and sport venues. Officials are also prohibited from lighting up at places that already have a smoking ban. Furthermore, officials are no longer allowed to use public funds to purchase cigarettes and cannot smoke while performing any official duties.

"Smoking remains a relatively universal phenomenon in public venues. Some officials smoke in public places, which does not only jeopardized the environment and public health, but tarnished the image of Party and government offices and leaders and has a negative influence," stated in the circular.

The statement continued, according to the New York Times, "In recent years, thanks to joint efforts, the ban on smoking in public venues has made progress. However, we see that smoking in public is still common. Smoking by some party officials not only endangers public health, but also damages the image of the party and the government."

Officials are also encouraged to quit smoking altogether. The party believes that if people in high positions quit smoking, it would influence more people to follow suit. Punishment for violating this new ban is currently unclear. In 1993, the country attempted to ban smoking in public places. The nation had created no smoking signs in restaurants, shopping malls and other public venues. However, due to the lack of enforcement and no real punishment, the country's first attempt was not a huge success. According to a report published in August of this year by a state-run People's Daily Newspaper, people continue to smoke in roughly 70 percent of restaurants throughout China.

China is the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of tobacco. There are roughly 300 million smokers within the nation. In last year's statistics, the health ministry estimated that roughly 40 percent of all global tobacco production and consumption occurred in China.

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