NE China city passes law targeting second-hand smoke

Updated: 2011-05-26 16:08
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HARBIN - A local law that bans indoor smoking in public places was passed Thursday in Harbin city, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, becoming the first regulations in China targeting second-hand smoke.

The standing committee of the city's people's congress voted and passed the Regulations on the Control of Harm Posed by Second-hand Smoke. It will take effect after being approved by the provincial people's congress, said a spokeswoman for the city government of Harbin.

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The regulations outline penalties for smokers who light up in public places and harm others with second-hand smoke.

The maximum fine would be 2,000 yuan ($300), making it the harshest fine for a smoking offense in China, according to an announcement about the draft on Monday.

Yang Gonghuan, director of China's National Office of Tobacco Control, said the regulations give the public the clearest interpretation of Article 8 of World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) compared with other regulations in China.

Public places, as defined in the regulations, include all movie theaters, hospitals, offices, hotels and restaurants.

According to the 2011 China Tobacco Control Report released Thursday morning, about 740 million people, including 180 million children and teenagers, are affected by second-hand smoke.

Of more than 1 million people who die of smoking-related diseases nationwide, more than 100,000 die of second-hand smoke, the report said.