China / Society

Law revision to further limit tobacco ads

By Shan Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-26 06:53

The planned revision of the Advertising Law will ban online media promotions and outdoor advertisements of tobacco, an anti-tobacco activist said.

Xu Guihua, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, made the remarks at a seminar on Monday, when the top legislature started reviewing the amendment to the law.

She was invited by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress as a tobacco-control expert to take part in amending the law.

"We've seen progress, such as the expected ban in new media and outdoors, but that is still a far cry from a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising," she said.

The draft includes a more specific explanation of public venues where tobacco ads would be banned, such as libraries, cultural centers, museums, parks, waiting rooms, theaters, meeting halls, sports auditoriums, and near hospitals and schools.

But approaches like brand extending and sharing and promoted sponsorship, which have long circumvented the law, should also be heeded and prohibited, she said.

In 2003, China signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires "a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship".

The bill, submitted on Monday to lawmakers, said: "Tobacco advertisements directly or indirectly transmitted via radio, film, television, newspaper, magazines, books, audio and visual products, electronic publications, telecommunication networks and the Internet are banned."

That still leaves loopholes, particularly for practices such as brand extending and activity sponsorship, Xu said.

She cited the emergence of restaurant tissue boxes with tobacco brand names on them as an example.

Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the Beijing-based non-government organization Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, agreed, and said that tobacco advertising has an even greater effect on young people.

"It took 20 years before the Advertising Law was amended. It may take another 20 years if we fail to include an explicit tobacco advertising ban in the law this time," she said.

By the end of last year, 24 countries and regions worldwide have introduced a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, according to the WHO.

"China's recognition of the FCTC should be clearly defined and respected in the coming new Advertising Law," she said.

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