China to make Olympics a smoke-free zone
Updated: 2006-05-29 15:49
China vowed on Monday to organize a "non-smoking" Olympic Games, but health
officials admitted that changing the habits of 350 million smokers would be
China would enforce a ban on smoking in public places, a Health Ministry
official told a news conference on Monday, with those places that offer services
to children a top concern.
China vowed on Monday to organize a "non-smoking" Olympic Games,
but health officials admitted that changing the habits of 350 million
smokers would be difficult.
"Smoking will be banned at all Olympic-designated hospitals by the end of
2007," Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Bin as saying.
The ban would also apply to public transport and in offices, Zhang said,
acknowledging that changing habits would be hard.
"China faces many obstacles to overcome in hosting a non-smoking Olympics,"
The ministry's vow comes as Beijing passes the 10th anniversary of its ban on
smoking in public places.
In practice, many of the capital's millions of smokers habitually ignore the
bans given that they run only a slight risk of punishment or complaint from
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of cigarettes with nearly
2 trillion sticks consumed a year.
Tax on cigarettes contributed 159 billion yuan ($19.8 billion) to the
government in 2005, around 5 percent of fiscal revenues.
The World Health Organization estimates that smoking kills 1.2 million people
a year in China.