Opinion / Opinion Line

Law enforcers should be given power to stop smoking in public

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-07 07:59

Law enforcers should be given power to stop smoking in public

Tobacco Control Inspectors carrying out their duties. The government is making plans to enlarge warning signs on cigarette packaging in a bid to reduce the number of smokers. Provided to China Daily

A conference venue run by China Tobacco Corporation in Beijing recently prevented law-enforcement officials from the capital's public health supervision bureau from entering the premises. This is the first case of its kind since Beijing implemented a strict tobacco-control law on June 1. Comments:

The incident raises doubts whether the anti-smoking law can be really implemented in Beijing. Although the tobacco-control team has dealt with 1,353 cases and imposed fines of more than 250,000 yuan (&41,000) over the past two months, the tobacco culture in Chinese society has yet to change for the better. Compared with more than 300 million people in China who smoke, the tobacco-control office appears weak. The anti-smoking regulation reflects people's will to curb smoking but does not give enough power to the law enforcers to implement it. The government has tried many times before to ban smoking in public places. If it does not take some concrete measures, it will not be different this time., Aug 6

We support the Beijing authorities to take action against the conference center, and we are happy to see public health supervisors enforcing the law across the city. Tens of thousands of community volunteers have joined the anti-smoking power. As long as Beijing continues to implement the law, its efforts will pay off in the end. The Chinese government should think of giving more tobacco-control power to the public health department, rather than the State-owned tobacco industry. It is almost impossible for tobacco-product makers to curb the use of tobacco.

Bernhard Schwartl?nder, World Health Organization representative in China, Aug 6

The center's confrontation with the law-enforcement officials shows that some people, especially in the tobacco industry, still think that even the strict anti-smoking regulation is like the previous ones. Besides, the law-enforcement officials don't have enough power to defend the dignity of the law. The authorities should make concerted efforts to raise people's awareness against tobacco use and take special measures to keep young people away from tobacco.

Xinmin Evening News, Aug 6

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