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China to Ban Smoking in Public By the End of the Year

Smokers in China should find a new habit in 2017 as the country is set to implement a stricter nationwide cigarette smoking ban by the year’s end. The country’s National Health and Family Planning Commission and a senior government official introduced the regulation to control smoking in public areas at the Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai on Tuesday, Shanghaiist reported. In a statement, the commission’s publicity head Mao Qun’an announced that “smoking harms health has become a global consensus.” The legislation drafted will make it illegal to smoke in all indoor public venues, public transport, and even workplaces. Outdoor spaces, like hospitals, primary schools, kindergartens, tourist sites, and stadiums will also be off limits to smoking. A fine of up to 500 yuan (US$72) will be imposed for every person who violates the new rule, while businesses which fail to comply will risk having their operating license revoked plus a fine of up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,320).

According to the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, China is home to around 316 million smokers in the country. The country, which produces the world’s largest supply of cigarettes, has yet to enforce the WHO-endorsed graphic packaging to local tobacco companies. Other factors seen as the cause for such rampant cigarette use is the lack of information drive tackling the harm it causes. The price of cigarettes in the country also remains cheap with some brands priced for just 10 RMB ($1.60) per pack. In 2011, the Chinese government attempted a similar legislation but failed to effectively enforce it. The commission is hoping to improve its implementation this time around.

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