China Plans to Quit its Leading Smoking Habit

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China is thinking about challenging curbs on cigarette advertising, as the world’s leading consumer of cigarettes seems to quit the habit, state media revealed several days ago.

A parliamentary committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) is considering a modification to China’s advertising law that could guard minors from unsafe adverts, as well as cigarette advertisements, the Xinhua news agency explained.

In case the amendment is authorized, all similar advertisements will be prohibited except those placed in tobacco stores, Xinhua stated. Advertisements would be prohibited in public places, hospitals and schools. They would also be banned on public transport facilities, the report explained. Outdoor advertisements and window displays for smoking products would be banned.

The modification comes as the state authorities, China’s cabinet, is also thinking about a ban on indoor cigarette use.

However strong lobbying by the robust state tobacco monopoly has previously was standing in the way of regulations. China deals with a health crisis, with over 300 million smokers and hundreds of millions more subjected to second-hand smoke annually.
Yet the government is strongly dependent on tobacco taxes, and last year the tobacco industry supplied over 816 billion Yuan to government coffers.
Judith Mackay, a Hong Kong-based senior counselor to the World Lung Foundation, stated that that the Chinese government considerably toughened its position regarding tobacco control in spring last year.

Officials realize that they “have a huge issue when it comes to economic burden and it’s only gonna get even worse”, Mackay added.
Since March last year, China’s cabinet, education ministry, health ministry, commerce ministry and the People’s Liberation Army have at least suggested restrictions to limit smoking in schools, hospitals, government workplaces and the military.
Mackay mentioned that China’s president, Xi Jinping, led the Central Party School in the years it was developing the survey. After Xi became president in 2012, he has proved a reputation as the country’s most successful top leader in decades.

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