China’s 300 million smokers face smoking ban in indoor public places
It can’t be easy to persuade 300 million people to stop smoking. But China, the biggest producer and consumer of tobacco products, plans to take a step toward that goal May 1 with a ban on smoking in indoor public places.
The act would prohibit smoking inside places such as movie theaters, shopping malls, libraries and other places, though not workplaces. Anti-smoking signs in these areas also would be on display. This Reuters story, though, says China has been here before:
“In 2008, Beijing formally pledged to restrict smoking in most public venues in the city, including government offices and public transport, but most of these venues remain choked with smoke and non-smoking signs are routinely ignored.”
Every day, tobacco-related illnesses kill about 3,000 of the 53% of men and 2% of women who smoke in China. Some say change is slow in coming, and education about health hazards isn’t widespread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a 2010 survey of households says less than a quarter of adults believe that smoking caused strokes, heart attacks and lung cancer; and a quarter believe exposure to smoke caused those illnesses in children.
And this snippet from a China Daily story talks about seeing officials and party members lighting up outside recent meetings.
“At the Beijing Conference Center, some of the [Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference] members would take a walk to a nearby sitting area -- where a no-smoking sign hung on the wall -- to smoke. They’d soon be encircled by a group of journalists, who had to ignore the fumes while taking the opportunity to ask some questions.”
Sounds like the new ban could be tough on everybody.