Opinion / Opinion Line

Implementation of smoking ban remains a hard nut to crack

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-01 07:49

Implementation of smoking ban remains a hard nut to crack

Two huge anti-smoking signs are hung on the exterior of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, May 30, 2015. [Photo/IC]

"Under no ceiling may one smoke." The Beijing municipal tobacco control regulation, which has been described as the country's "strictest in history", entered into effect on Monday, prohibiting smoking in indoor public venues and offices, as well as outdoors places where minors gather, such as kindergartens or primary schools. But the question remains, will the regulation be truly effective? Comments:

The regulation has authorized public building managers, health authorities and the police to persuade smokers to stop, yet fails to make clear who is ultimately responsible, thus leaving the possibility that they will pass the buck to each other. For example, if someone smokes in a children's hospital, the hospital staff "should" either get the smoker to stop or call the health authorities; but what punishment will the hospital receive if they fail to perform that duty? Without clear delineations of responsibility, the regulation is likely to become merely a scrap of paper.

Beijing Youth Daily, May 31

Data shows that less than 25 percent of residents know the harm smoking in public spaces does to non-smokers, which is the lowest among all 22 countries investigated. The new regulation should require tobacco producers to print a warning on cigarette packages in order to let more know about it.

Jiang Huan, vice-director on tobacco control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, May 30

Many complain that the new regulation might not be effective due to the lack of legal enforcement, but few notice it is hitting the root of the tobacco problem: It forbids all sales of tobacco to minors, as well as sales via electronic channels, and all tobacco advertisements are banned. These mark an essential progress forward because it helps the idea take root in people's mind that smoking causes harm to health.

Xu Guihua, vice chairperson of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, May 30

Recent reports quote government employees as saying that some officials smoke in offices yet no one dares stop them. The lack of powerful enforcers to implement this new regulation is just one of the difficulties the new regulation faces. If the authorities really mean to control smoking, please open a hotline first and deal with every reported case seriously., May 31

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