Anti-smoking movements around the world

By Uking Sun ( ) Updated: 2011-01-07 15:12:48

United States

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gained a historical high authority in regulating the tobacco industry when President Barack Obama signed a tobacco control bill on June 22, 2009, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, with the primary focus of stopping cigarette companies from aggressively marketing to children, makes it illegal to sell candy-flavored and fruit-flavored cigarettes and use terms such as "low tar," "light" or "mild" -- so-called light cigarettes make no difference to a smoker's health.


Switzerland's new smoking ban took effect on May 1, 2010. The law is aimed at protecting non-smokers in public spaces, including schools, hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants and cinemas. It sets minimum standards and allows authorities to introduce stricter rules but also includes exemptions.

South Korea

South Korea will ban all indoor and outdoor smoking in public places starting in 2011, to substantially reduce the country's smoking rate, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said. Despite some reduction in the number of smokers among the general population, the number of students and soldiers who smoke has not gone down. The move aims to bring down the smoking rate among men in the country from 47 percent at present to 20 percent in the target year. Regional governments are also allowed to implement anti-smoking policies to make it more difficult for people to smoke in public places, and push forward a concerted campaign at schools and military installations across the country.


Finland is the first country in the world to write into its legislation that it intends not just to reduce smoking but to end all tobacco use through law. The first in a series of laws designed to completely eradicate smoking and tobacco use in Finland went into effect in October 2010. The possession of tobacco products by people under the age of 18 is completely banned, and it has become a criminal offense to buy or give minors tobacco, punishable by up to six months in prison. It is also illegal to buy or sell tobacco products over the Internet, to use tobacco in places frequented by minors, or smoke in spectator stands at all outdoor events. In the next phase in 2012, it will become illegal to display tobacco products in stores, and by 2015, all cigarette vending machines will be banned.


On Nov 15, 2010, a new law to ban smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, took effect in Poland. Under the law, establishments bigger than 100 square meters can set aside a designated room for smokers but must meet certain air conditioning standards.

Owners of establishments that don't follow the smoking ban will be punishable by a fine of 2,000 zlotys (500 euros). Smokers violating the new law face a fine of 500 zloty (125 euros).

More than half of Poles back the new ban, while 15 percent are strongly opposed, according to a survey published in the Polish language edition of Newsweek magazine. In Poland, 34% of men and 21% of women are smokers.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has seen all public smoking banned from Jan 1, 2007, under the government's revised Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance, first enacted in 1982, with seven amendments since. The latest amendment expands the smoking ban to include indoor workplaces, most public places including restaurants, Internet cafés, public lavatories, beaches and most public parks. Some bars, karaoke parlors, saunas and nightclubs were exempt until July 1, 2009. A new law that went into effect in September 2009 provides for fixed-penalty arrangements (HK$1,500) for smoking.

New measures for duty-free cigarettes took effect on Aug 1, 2010. Passengers above the age of 18 can carry no more than 19 cigarettes, a cigar or 25 grams of other manufactured tobacco when entering Hong Kong.


Smoking was banned in restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs in June 2005. The Swedish parliament identified a goal that by 2014 no one should be subjected to tobacco smoke against their will.

In January 2008, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service banned smoking indoors in prisons.

Establishments that want to allow smoking are required to have a closed-off section with specially designed ventilation, where no food or drink can be served. But most venues were not expected to be able to afford such renovations.

United Kingdom

Smoking is banned in nearly all enclosed public spaces - including bars, restaurants and workplaces. The ban came into force in England on July 1, 2007. Scotland introduced a ban in March 2006, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland in April 2007. People smoking in pubs, restaurants, offices and on public transport face on-the-spot fines of £50, while those in charge of the premises could also be fined for allowing smoking. About 30% of adults under the age of 65 smoke in the UK, according to recent research conducted by Imperial College in London. An estimated 42% of people under the age of 65 are exposed to tobacco smoke at home and 11% at work..

A ban on smoking in public places in England led to a swift and significant drop in the number of heart attacks, saving the health service 8.4 million pounds in the first year, scientists said in June 2010, Reuters reported.

The findings suggest that anti-smoking legislation has the potential to save millions of lives in both the short and longer term by reducing the amount of smoking and the exposure to secondhand smoke.


Japan's health ministry will urge local governments to introduce a total ban on smoking in public places, the Daily Yomiuri reported in February 2010. Japan now has a voluntary policy on smoking. A 2007 survey found just over half of businesses had not taken steps to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke by totally banning the practice or creating leak-proof smoking rooms. Japan's smoking rate fell to 24.9 percent in 2009, the 18th consecutive annual decline, according to Japan Tobacco Inc, but remains high compared with other developed countries.

India Legislation to outlaw smoking in public in India was first passed in 2003. A ban was supposed to have taken effect in 2004, but it has taken four more years to work out guidelines before it could be implemented. Then in October 2008, a ban on smoking tobacco in public came into force. The ban includes schools and colleges, pubs and discotheques, hospitals and bus stops. The government cited the economic costs and the need to stem the loss of human lives, but tobacco firms said the ban infringes on individual rights.

According to India's first survey on adult tobacco use in 2010, nearly 35% of adults consume tobacco in some form, as do 10% of 15- to 17-year-olds. In addition to cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs, Indians, particularly in poor communities, frequently smoke bidis, a type of rolled-up leaf tobacco that sells for a few cents for a pack of 30, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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