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October 19th, 2015:

Smoking ‘too easy’ in China, says WHO, and even smokers agree

Jessie Lau

Even smokers themselves agree – the mainland doesn’t go far enough in stamping out tobacco use in public places, especially at work, according to a World Health Organisation report.

The findings were a clear indication the government lagged behind society in dealing with the health threats posed by smoking, the organisation said.

A comprehensive ban on smoking was introduced in Beijing in June, but many mainland cities have yet to follow suit. A national draft law banning smoking in public places was released for public consultation by the State Council in November last year, but has yet to be adopted.

“We see no reason to delay,” said Angela Pratt, who leads the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative in Beijing. “The existing laws aren’t working partly because many have loopholes. They’re not well enforced. They don’t protect people from exposure.”

More than a million people die annually from tobacco-related illnesses on the mainland, and an additional 100,000 die from diseases arising from exposure to second-hand smoke.

About 70 per cent of Chinese smokers and ex-smokers said they had witnessed smoking in indoor workplaces in 2011 and 2012 – the highest percentage among the countries surveyed. About 82 and 89 per cent of respondents had observed smoking in restaurants and bars in the past six months, respectively.


About half wanted a complete ban on lighting up in indoor workplaces. “The level of support right now among smokers in China for smoke-free zones is higher than it was in any of the countries we’ve studied,” said Geoffrey Fong, founder and chief principal investigator at the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project – which examines the effects of the WHO’s anti-smoking efforts. “There should be no barrier to implementing smoke-free laws.”

Extending the ban to bars was also viewed more favourably on the mainland than in other countries before the adoption of a nationwide law. On average, 35 per cent of Chinese supported smoke-free bars. In Ireland, the first country to ban smoking in bars, only 12 per cent supported the law before it was introduced.

The survey was conducted in six mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and the report was prepared in conjunction with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the international policy evaluation project.

Critics say policies – no matter how broadly aimed – will not be well enforced on the mainland, and that tobacco companies generate significant income for the government in the form of taxes. The industry accounts for about 10 per cent of the national fiscal revenue, and contributed 911 billion yuan (HK$1.11 trillion) last year, Beijing Business Today has reported.

The existing laws aren’t working partly because many have loopholes

Angela Pratt, WHO

Yet Pratt said stronger laws were easier to enforce, and the cost of tobacco use to public health far outweighed the tax dollars the industry contributed.

Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the ThinkTank Research Centre for Health Development, also supports the idea of a nationwide law and stressed the need to separate the business of tobacco companies from the government. “It’s getting better. The people living in Beijing … they support this regulation. Their behaviour is changing,” Wu said. “Compared to other countries, we’re very slow.”

It is time for a national smoke-free law in China: new WHO report

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Beijing law provides momentum towards national smoking ban

BEIJING, 19 October 2015 – A strong, comprehensive, national smoke-free law would protect all of China’s 1.34 billion citizens from the harms of second-hand tobacco smoke, and would be immensely popular with the public, including smokers, according to a new report launched today.

These findings are presented alongside policy recommendations in Smoke-free policies in China –Evidence of effectiveness and implications for action, from the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“China’s addiction to tobacco is taking a dreadful toll on its health, its society, and its economy. And China’s smokers are not only hurting themselves, but also their friends, family, and others around them. The rates of exposure to second-hand smoke are extraordinarily high, with devastating health consequences for those affected,” said Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO Representative in China.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a solution – and it starts with the adoption of a national smoke-free law. A national smoke-free law is the only way to effectively protect all of China’s population from the harms of tobacco smoke – and the report we are releasing today demonstrates the urgent importance of this,” Dr Schwartländer said.

More than 1 million people die each year in China from tobacco-related illnesses. If current smoking habits continue, this number is expected to triple by the year 2050.

In addition, involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke endangers the health of hundreds of millions of people in China every day. According to the report, 740 million non-smokers – including 182 million children – are exposed to second-hand smoke at least once a day in a typical week. Approximately 100,000 people die in China every year as a result. Second-hand smoke can make indoor venues more polluted than the air outside even on the most heavily polluted days.

“China is unfortunately a world leader in second-hand smoke exposure: among the countries we work in, China has the highest rates of smoking in workplaces and homes, and among the highest rates in restaurants and bars. This puts the health of millions of non-smokers at risk every single day,” said Dr Geoffrey T. Fong, Principal Investigator, ITC Project.

“Other countries have taken strong action to protect non-smokers from the smoke of others. When comprehensive smoking bans are effectively implemented and supported, indoor smoking virtually disappears,” Dr Fong explained.

The winds of change are blowing in China: on 1 June this year, a comprehensive smoke-free law came into effect in the nation’s capital. The law is the strongest smoke-free law adopted in China, and requires all indoor places, including workplaces, restaurants, hotels and airports to be 100% smoke-free, without any exceptions. Beijing’s smoke-free law sets an excellent precedent for other Chinese cities, and provides important momentum for the adoption of a national smoke-free law.

“Beijing’s comprehensive law sets an example for all of China. Although there have been some smoke-free policies in other Chinese cities, they have been partial and poorly enforced. We need stronger laws, effective enforcement and mass education campaigns to educate people about the dangers of inhaling second-hand smoke,” said Dr Xiaofeng Liang, Deputy Director, China CDC.

Crucially, the report demonstrates that there is likely to be strong popular support for a national smoke-free law. The ITC Project data shows that even smokers are supportive of smoke-free laws, particularly in workplaces. Support for smoke-free bars amongst smokers is higher in China than it was in other countries, such as Ireland, Scotland (United Kingdom), and France before such smoking bans were introduced.

“This is a critically important finding. It shows that lawmakers have nothing to fear from the adoption of a national smoke-free law. On the contrary: a comprehensive national smoke-free law is likely to be extremely popular in China, even among smokers themselves, as we have already seen in Beijing. It is time to get this done,” Dr Schwartländer said.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which came into force in China in 2006, requires that countries adopt laws and regulations to protect against exposure to second-hand smoke in all indoor public places. As well as protecting against harms caused by second-hand smoke, smoke-free laws also help to reduce tobacco consumption and motivate smokers to quit the deadly habit.

Note to editors:

The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project)

The evidence presented in the report is primarily based on findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project), the first-ever international cohort study to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural effects of tobacco control policies and the only research project that focuses on measuring the impact of key policies of the WHO FCTC.

The ITC Project conducts surveys of smokers and non-smokers in China and 21 other countries. Four waves of ITC China Survey data have been collected between 2006 and 2012 from 5600 adult smokers and 1400 non-smokers in seven cities in China. Findings from the ITC China Survey and other ITC countries can provide policy-makers with a roadmap to guide the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive smoke-free law.

Download the full report:

About the World Health Organization (WHO)

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.

About the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC)

China CDC is a nonprofit institution working in the fields of disease control and prevention, public health management and provision of service. China CDC is committed to strengthening research on strategies and measures for disease control and prevention; organizing and implementing control and prevention plans for different kinds of diseases; carrying out public health management; acting as the national working group for disease prevention, emergency relief, and construction of public health information systems.

For more information, please contact:

Ms WU Linlin
WHO China Office
Office Tel: +86 10 6532 7191

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“在二手烟暴露水平上,中国不幸成为全球首领:在本研究调查的所有国家之中,工作场所吸烟率及家庭吸烟率以中国最高,餐厅和酒吧的吸烟率中国也非常靠前。这一情况每天都危害着数百万非吸烟者的健康,” ITC项目首席科学家方德智博士表示。










ITC项目在全球包括中国在内的22个国家,针对吸烟者和非吸烟者展开调查。在2006至2012 年间, ITC项目在中国的七个城市中针对5,600名成年吸烟者和1,400名非吸烟者进行了4轮调查。ITC 项目在中国及其他国家的研究结果能够为决策者绘制出一幅用以制定和实施全面禁止公共场所吸烟立法的路线图。








办公电话:+86 10 6532 7191

FTC to Put E-Cigs Under the Microscope

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to begin a study of the U.S. sales and marketing of electronic cigarettes. To conduct the study, the agency will issue information requests to e-cigarette marketers and will use the information as a basis for a report on the sales, marketing activities and expenditures in this “new and complex” industry.

Since the mid-2000s, the sale of battery-powered e-cigarettes has grown rapidly in the United States.

The FTC is seeking clearance from the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to collect information from the e-cigarette marketers, which is the first step toward conducting the study. It will publish a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the proposed collection of information from approximately five large and 10 smaller e-cigarette marketers.

The topics the FTC seeks comment on the following:

The need for the study and the practical utility of the information collected; the accuracy of the commission’s burden estimates; and ways to enhance the quality and utility of the information collected and to minimize the burden of that collection.

Whether the FTC should seek to collect data according to 1.) the various types of products sold and given away by industry members; 2.) the various flavors and nicotine strengths of those sales and giveaways; 3.) the various sizes and liquid capacities of disposable e-cigarettes, cartridges and e-liquids sold and given away; and 4.) whether the company sells directly to consumers or to wholesalers and distributors.

Whether industry members can provide data that distinguishes between, among other things: 1.) direct sales to consumers (e.g., online sales) and sales to retailers and distributors; 2.) sales and giveaways of disposable e-cigarettes and sales and giveaways of refillable e-cigarettes; and 3.) the various combinations of sizes, flavors and nicotine contents of their e-cigarettes and refill cartridges and e-liquids.

Whether the FTC should seek data on state-by-state sales of e-cigarettes and related products.

The FTC will accept public comments until 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

Side stream emissions from ‘heated tobacco’ products similar to secondhand cigarette smoke

Posted By News On October 19, 2015 – 3:00pm

London, 19th October 2015 – A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry today found that, despite claims made by some manufacturers, next generation ‘heated’ tobacco devices produce side-stream emissions similar to secondhand cigarette smoke.

The study, conducted by Imperial Tobacco, owner of market leading e-cigarette brand blu, tested a commercially available heated tobacco product called iQOS to assess whether the product generated side stream chemical emissions when activated.

“A number of tobacco manufacturers are promoting products where the tobacco is reportedly ‘heated’ rather than burned. It has been claimed these products don’t produce side stream emissions,” explained Dr. Steve Stotesbury, Head of Scientific Regulatory Engagement, Imperial Tobacco. “However, our findings suggest those claims are wrong and that actually, when activated, heated tobacco products release a large number of different chemical compounds into the surrounding airspace. Further research on heated tobacco products is clearly needed”

Heated tobacco devices are sometimes confused with e-cigarettes. However, unlike e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products actually contain blended or processed tobacco just like conventional cigarettes. Heated tobacco products are claimed to work by heating cigarettes at a lower temperature to vapourise nicotine and flavourings which are then inhaled.

“By way of comparison, we also investigated side stream emissions from a Nicorette inhalator and an e-cigarette,” said Stotesbury. “The findings highlight the fundamental differences between tobacco and non-tobacco products. While e-cigarettes and pharmaceutical nicotine inhalators share very similar chemical characteristics, the heated tobacco product emissions suggest these devices should fall under the same regulation as regular cigarettes when it comes to indoor use and smoke-free legislation.”

Expert evidence on tobacco taxes

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Billboards with cigarette ads to be dismantled in Indonesia

Billboards that advertise cigarettes and are displayed around schools in North Jakarta, Indonesia, will be dismantled in the near future, according to a story in the daily Tempo.

Mustafa Kemal, head of North Jakarta Education Sub-Department Regional I, stated that the existence of such billboards is unethical and could potentially influence students to smoke.

“If there are students caught smoking, either inside or outside of schools during school hours, they will be sanctioned,” he said.

Such sanctions would include summoning a child’s parents and revoking their Jakarta Smart Card.

Graphic warnings on cigarette packs due in the Philippines

Health groups in the Philippines have reminded the government and the public that graphic images and warning texts should be printed on the labels of all tobacco products by Nov. 5, in compliance with the Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) Law, according to a story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Sections 6 and 15 of the GHW Law, or Republic Act (RA) No. 10643, give tobacco manufacturers no more than one year from the issuance of the initial set of templates to comply with the printing requirements, according to a statement issued jointly by HealthJustice, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and New Vois Association of the Philippines. Irene Reyes, managing director of HealthJustice, said the department of health published the templates in November 2014.

“The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which the Philippines is a party, mandates governments, within three years of entry into the agreement, to pass and implement a law requiring tobacco products to carry effective health warnings,” Reyes said.

Under RA 10643, which was signed into law by President Aquino last year, all tobacco products in the Philippines must display a photographic warning accompanied by text printed on 50 percent of principal display surfaces, such as the front and back of cigarette packs. The law also prohibits the use of “misleading” terms such as “light,” “mild,” “low tar” or other words that suggest a particular variant is less harmful.

The deadline for the Philippines to implement graphic warnings and text was September 2008, making the country seven years late in fulfilling its obligation.