China makes steady, sustained efforts in tobacco control


China has made steady progress in tobacco control, and this momentum will be maintained as further legislation is implemented in this field, industry insiders have said.

Police in Shenzhen recently fined an Internet café 30,000 yuan for failing to stop a customer from smoking on the premises. It was the first punishment targeted at an Internet café and the largest sum in its category in China.

Beijing’s efforts to ban smoking in public have also proven effective. Since June 2015, when the city rolled out its rigorous smoking ban, 1,917 companies have been fined a total of 5.44 million yuan, and 8,883 individuals have been punished.

East China’s Zhejiang province included e-cigarette liquid as an additional tobacco product to be banned in public starting Jan. 1, 2019. Smoking is also prohibited in public indoor spaces, workplaces and on public transportation in the province.

Wang Ke’an, former director of the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, attributed the successful implementation of the campaign to wide public support.

Statistics released in 2015 indicated that 27.7 percent of people above the age of 15 smoke in China.

According to a guideline, that figure is meant to drop below 20 percent by 2030. It is a difficult task given China’s population and size.

Wang said the authorities need to properly handle the relationship between public health policies and the tobacco industry and enhance national legislation, which requires cooperation among various parties.

Some positive outcomes have been delivered through legislation regarding tobacco control in public areas, and national legislation is now at a mature stage, Wang disclosed.

He added that the country should make action plans to define targets, strategy, performance index, monitoring, evaluation and supporting measures so that guidelines will be better implemented.

Liao Wenke, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said tobacco use among youths also needs special attention.