China / Society

Report: Youth still have easy access to tobacco

By Shan Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-13 08:22

Despite laws and regulations, young students in Beijing still have easy access to tobacco products and are regularly exposed to tobacco advertising, particularly at retail stores, according to a new report.

The report found that cigarette stores were found within 100 meters of more than 25 percent of primary and middle schools.

In addition, nearly 85 percent of those tobacco shops were caught selling cigarettes to minors, said the report, which investigated 1,570 schools.

The report was issued on Tuesday by the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and ThinkTank, an NGO committed to tobacco control.

"These are violating existing tobacco control laws and regulations. We need law enforcement with more teeth to better protect our children from the tobacco epidemic," said Guo Xin, a researcher at the Beijing CDC who headed the investigation.

Her team conducted investigations in April, May and November.

Report: Youth still have easy access to tobacco

Beijing's new tobacco control rules took effect on June 1, banning tobacco sales within 100 meters of school campuses and cigarette sales to minors.

"We didn't see major improvements after the law came into effect, and poor enforcement is mainly to be blamed," said Wu Yiqun, deputy director of ThinkTank.

According the report, tobacco advertising was also prevalent at tobacco stores close to school campuses, which violates the new national law.

Nearly 64 percent of retail stores within 100 meters of the campuses do not display "No tobacco sales to minors" signs as required, it said.

More than 5 percent of the retail locations have tobacco advertisements or on-site promotions, it said. Notably, some sell individual cigarettes largely to lure minors who cannot afford a full pack.

Previous official statistics showed there are roughly 5.6 million tobacco retail locations in China.

The latest survey by China CDC showed 6.3 percent of China's youth younger than 15 smoke, and more than 23 percent have tried lighting up.

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