China Set to Enforce Indoor Smoking Ban
China is the world's largest consumer and manufacturer of tobacco, making up roughly 40 percent of all global tobacco production and consumption. According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in 2010, the majority of Chinese men smoke. Due to the many health concerns and costs tied to smoking, China has decided to take a more aggressive approach with their anti-smoking campaigns. Recently, the nation decided to ban all Chinese officials from smoking in public, hoping to encourage others, who might idolize officials, to quit. Now, China has announced that by the end of the year, the nation will ban indoor public smoking and plans to enforce it.
An indoor smoking ban is not new to China. Back in 2011, the country attempted to ban smoking in public places. The country's health ministry had issued a set of guidelines that stated that smoking in public places, such as hotels and restaurants, would be illegal. However, due to poor enforcement, the guidelines were never truly followed. Now, the nation's National Health and Family Commission is planning on creating a clear tobacco control law that would be accompanied with defined penalties.
"China stands on its own in the magnitude of the problem. Unless there is change in China, we won't proceed further in reducing the tobacco epidemic in the world," Dr. Judith Mackey, the senior adviser at the World Lung Foundation, stated reported by CNN. "This isn't a health problem. It's a huge economic problem. There's all these things ranging from medical and health care costs, the costs to the families and there's the cost of secondhand smoke."
"There have been no concrete moves by the government since issuing the 12th five-year plan," said Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of Chinese Association on Tobacco Control and a professor with Peking Union Medical College, reported the South China Morning Post. "But the circular showed the political commitment by the current administration and it is more than a restraint to party members and officials."
The officials hope that this time around, the laws would be enforced more efficiently, which would more effectively ban indoor smoking.