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China stepping up its regulation of smoking

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-27 07:24
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China is ramping up efforts to control smoking, with 44 cities either introducing or revising measures last year, taking the number of cities with such regulations to 254, health authorities said.

At the provincial level, 24 regions in China have rolled out regulations on smoking, with the proportion of the population protected by comprehensive smoke-free regulations continuing to increase, according to experts from the National Health Commission.

The data was released during a ceremony in Beijing on Saturday marking the inauguration of a committee led by medical institutions dedicated to tobacco control and health enhancement. A seminar was also held as part of the event.

Smoking control, which includes measures to curb smoking and encouraging smokers to quit, is a viable approach to facilitate population-wide disease prevention and improve individual healthcare, said Wang Lu, a health expert from the commission.

China ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005 and put it into force in 2006.

Following the release of a document in 2016 aimed at building a healthier China, the country decided to intensify tobacco control through pricing, taxation and legislation.

It also aims to actively promote the development of smoke-free environments and strengthen supervision and law enforcement in public places.

The document aims to decrease the nationwide smoking rate among people age 15 and older to 20 percent by 2030. It was 24.1 percent in 2022, a 1.7 percentage point decrease compared to 2020.

Recent years have witnessed active legislative efforts by local authorities to control tobacco use.

Beijing, for example, prohibits smoking in public places, indoor workplaces and in lines of people outdoors. Shenzhen, Guangdong province, bans smoking in indoor workplaces, indoor public places, public transportation vehicles and outdoor areas in schools, parks and medical institutions.

The efforts are paying off. For example, thanks to strict anti-smoking measures in Shanghai, the adult smoking rate in the city has decreased to 19.4 percent.

"China will actively promote smoke-free environments and make health communication a focal point in disease treatment to help patients adopt healthy lifestyles," said commission official Wu Xiangtian.

It will also intensify scientific research into the epidemiology and clinical treatment of tobacco dependence.


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