Most hope for smoke-free Shanghai Expo

09:01, January 22, 2010      

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SHANGHAI: More than 90 percent of residents interviewed for a poll are hoping for the first- ever smoke-free World Expo in the history of the 159-year-old mega event, which kicks off in Shanghai on May 1.

The Fudan Media and Public Opinion Research Center interviewed 509 people, of which 93.5 percent said they hoped smoking, tobacco commercials and promotions would be strictly prohibited at all Shanghai Expo 2010 pavilions.

They also felt smoking should not be allowed in restaurants or shopping centers near the Expo area.

Zhou Baohua, a professor at Fudan University who headed the survey, said that the results are in line with their earlier estimation.

"We could tell the trend, as we have been keeping an eye on this topic for several years. This was the third time we carried out such a survey. And we can see that most people would like to see smoking banned in public places, especially indoors," he said.

A smoke-free Expo will help promote Shanghai's image as an international metropolis, said 94.3 percent of the people interviewed.

"Smoking should be banned in all public areas during the Expo. Smokers need to realize not everyone likes the smoke they exhale," said Qian Siyan, a student at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, who will be attending the six-month Expo in June.

"Smoking has been banned in public places in several countries. We should do the same, at least during the Expo, since it is a cosmopolitan event. And of course, for the sake of the public who would be visiting."

As far as Liang Sheng, a smoker for three years, is concerned, he'd rather spurn the event than not light up for a few hours.

"Even though some of the exhibitions seem really appealing, I would rather not go if I am not allowed to smoke anywhere. There should be some alternatives for smokers," said Liang, the art director of a Shanghai-based fashion magazine.

Expo organizers refused a 200 million yuan ($29.3 million) donation from the Shanghai Tobacco Company last year to maintain their "healthy Expo" stance.

Starting March 1, Shanghai will launch a ban on smoking in 13 kinds of public areas, approved by the city's top legislature.

But experts said enforcing the ban will prove much tougher.

"With such a large population of smokers, we should take gradual and reasonable steps to ban smoking. We can have designated smoking areas in indoor places. But at the same time, we should be strict about prohibiting smokers from lighting up in areas that are no-smoking zones," said professor Zhou.

Source:China Daily
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