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Action needed to stop kids being lured into smoking

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-04 07:41
Students hold "no smoking" signs to promote No Tobacco Day at Chaoyang Primary School in Huaibei, Anhui province, May 30, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

ACCORDING TO a recently released report, most primary and secondary schools have a tobacco sales shop within 100 meters of their gates. comments on Monday:

According to a survey freshly released by a research center on tobacco control, about 90 percent of primary and secondary schools have tobacco sales shops within 100 meters of them, of which about one-fourth feature tobacco advertisements.

Besides, the survey on 1,281 tobacco shops in seven cities also finds that about half of them do not have any signs forbidding tobacco sales to minors. Some of them even allow their customers to buy individual cigars, not by the box, which makes it easier for youngsters to buy cigars.

Two other groups of data might offer some comparison. In 2014, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found in a survey that about 9.4 million middle school students in China had tried tobacco products, and tobacco causes about 1 million deaths in China annually.

Besides, China is the biggest producer, consumer, as well as the victim of tobacco worldwide. If tobacco advertisements go uncurbed, they might do more harm to Chinese people, especially youngsters, in the future.

China has more than 300 million smokers; 27.7 percent of all the residents above 15 years old smoke. The Health China 2030 plan has set an objective of lowering that number to below 20 percent by 2030. If that objective is to be realized, the law must be strictly implemented and illegal activities such as cigarette advertising targeting youths be totally curbed, so that youngsters are not tempted to smoke.

If we want to change the situation in China, we must start by stopping children from smoking. The relevant departments should step up their efforts to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, increase their supervision over tobacco sales outlets and the penalties for violations, strengthen publicity and education, end the setting up of tobacco sales outlets around primary and secondary schools, and revoke the existing licenses.

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