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China's health, family planning organ to build tobacco-free environment | Updated: 2014-01-07 15:44

China's health and family planning organ will follow the recent smoking ban from the central authorities and build a non-smoking environment in all government-affiliated institutions, its spokesman said Wednesday.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said all health and family planning department staff will be prohibited from smoking in non-smoking locations, and some staff members will be appointed to prevent others from smoking.

Tobacco products are banned from being sold or provided in health and family planning institutions. Tobacco advertisements, sales promotions or sponsorships are also banned in government-affiliated institutions, added Mao.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council released a circular Sunday urging officials to "take the lead" in adhering to the smoking ban in public spaces.

The circular said officials are not allowed to smoke in schools, hospitals, sports venues, public transport vehicles, or any other venues where smoking is banned.

Government functionaries are prohibited from using public funds to buy cigarettes, and they are not permitted to smoke or offer cigarettes when performing official duties, the circular notes.

Mao said departments at all levels will strengthen tobacco control advertising and health education to raise social awareness about the harm of tobacco and help create a non-smoking social environment.

The health and family planning departments will also help other departments to build non-smoking governments, schools, enterprises and other non-smoking public facilities. They will also coordinate with other government departments to promote the legislation process for tobacco control.

China is the world's biggest producer and consumer of tobacco products, with over 300 million smokers in the country. Over 1 million people die of smoking-related diseases every year, while about 100,000 people die of diseases related to second-hand smoke exposure.

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