Legal experts call for legislation on tobacco control in China

21:46, May 31, 2010      

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Despite various efforts and activities in China to observe this year's World No Tobacco Day on Monday, legal experts say the country is still a long way from effective national legislation on tobacco control.

China signed the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, which calls for the signatories to adopt and implement effective legislative measures in tobacco control.

The FCTC came into effect in China in 2006.

However, current local regulations in China are insufficient to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke in public places, said Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

China has been enforcing the Tobacco Monopoly Law from 1991, but the law only regulates the production and monopoly sale of tobacco. Other measures, such as bans on tobacco use in public places, are included in local regulations.

Such regulations, however, only listed certain places where tobacco use is prohibited, but left exceptions for setting smoking areas or smoking rooms, Yang said.

These exceptions made it difficult to protect people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, Yang said.

In Beijing, a smoking ban only holds in places such as hospitals, schools, theaters, museums, libraries, and public transport. Smoking areas are allowed in restaurants, Internet cafes, parks and waiting rooms of airports and railway stations.
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