Guangzhou to Ban Smoking in Public

Update:26 May 2007

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Smoking in public places has long been considered impolite. It will become illegal in south China's Guangzhou city within the year.

Guangzhou-based New Express Daily reports that a forum was held recently in the southern city, consulting people's opinions on a draft regulation on the control of smoking in public. In the draft, smoking in public places, or in public vehicles, is forbidden; selling cigarettes to minors is prohibited; whilst cigarette ads on radio, TV or newspapers are to be totally banned. Smoking in public places could incur you a fine of as much as 100 yuan, or 13 U.S. dollars.

The regulation has met with mixed responses, especially concerning its feasibility.

Du Lin, head of the local disease prevention and control center, said that in a survey conducted in 2004, 20.5% of local people above 15 years old are smokers, 40.2% of whom are male and 1.5% female. The smoking population has reached 1.68 million early in 2002.

"We are short of hands, considering the huge numbers of smokers," he said.

Ouyang Binghui, Head of the Guangzhou Red Cross Society, pointed out that mere legislation is not enough. She suggested that any ban on smoking should be realized step by step, starting with the establishment of specific trial areas.

Her suggestion was accepted by the smokers in the city. They expressed the hope that smoking areas and non-smoking areas could be clearly demarcated.

Mr. Liu, an employee from a foreign-funded company and himself a smoker, set an example. In his office, he can only smoke in the pantry.

"It's convenient for both the smokers and the non-smokers," he said, "I smoke only to relax from my working pressure. I don't want to harm anyone."

Currently, 88 Chinese cities from 14 provinces and autonomous regions have banned smoking in public places, including Beijing and Shanghai.

SOURCE: CRI

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