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WHO commends Shenzhen’s move to create 100% smoke-free environment

The World Health Organization (WHO) congratulates the government and the people of Shenzhen for their commitment to strengthen the city’s tobacco control laws. Starting on 1 January 2017, Shenzhen will offer all of its citizens and visitors a 100% smoke-free environment in all indoor public places.

“Shenzhen will join a growing list of cities around the world where smoking in indoor public venues is completely prohibited, without exception. A 100% smoke-free law is the only way to protect the people and visitors to this city from the toxic harms of second-hand smoke. There is no other way: there is simply no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” said Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO Representative in China.

The Shenzhen smoke-free law is a model law, fully compliant with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The law was adopted in October 2013 as the first comprehensive smoke-free law to be passed in China However, a grace period was given to certain entertainment and leisure venues to fully comply with the law. That grace period will now end on 31 December 2016.

The smoking ban will also cover outdoor areas of schools, educational and healthcare facilities, parks, stadiums and fitness clubs. In addition, tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship are also completely banned.

The law includes strong penalties and enforcement is closely coordinated between eight government departments and agencies. The challenge now will be to ensure that inspectors have the resources they need and are granted complete access to obtain evidence of violations, and that penalties are consistently imposed.

Similar to Beijing and Shanghai, results from a survey done in Shenzhen show there is strong support for a comprehensive smoke free law among the general public. In addition, the Shenzhen survey also revealed high levels of support from owners and managers of public venues.

“Three of China’s four first tier cities will now have comprehensive smoke-free laws, fully in line with the WHO Tobacco Framework Convention.. These cities, covering a population of more than 60 million, are exemplifying leadership and setting the scene for what is our ultimate goal – a national 100% smoke-free law which gives the same protection to all citizens in China, wherever they live,” said Dr Schwartländer.

A draft national smoke-free law is currently being debated at the State Council. With more than 300 million smokers, China has by far the largest number of smokers worldwide. Every year, 1 million smokers die of tobacco related diseases, and 100,000 Chinese non-smokers are dying of the consequences of being exposed to second hand smoke.

“Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai are showing the way by going completely smoke free, covering all indoor and many outdoor public places. We know that it works and how it can be done. It is now time to move an equally strong national smoke free law to make sure that all Chinese can benefit from the same level of protection against the deadly exposure of second hand smoke”, said Dr Schwartländer. “A Healthy China is a smoke free China”.

“Shenzhen has given the people of the city the most precious year-end gift it could possibly give – the gift of clean indoor air, of health, and of life. I cannot think of a better way to start the new year of 2017,” said Dr Schwartländer.

About the World Health Organization

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

For more information please contact:

Ms WU Linlin
Office Tel: +86 10 6532 7191

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