Beijing to Implement the Provisions on No Smoking on May 1 for Staging a Smoke-free Olympics – April 24, 2008

The Several Provisions on No Smoking Scope in Public Places of Beijing (hereinafter referred to as the Several Provisions) will come into force formally on May 1, 2008. This is based on the Provisions on No Smoking in Public Places of Beijing (hereinafter referred to as the Provisions) adopted by the Beijing People’s Congress in 1995, and further expands the no smoking scope in public places so as to achieve the goal of staging a smoke-free Olympics and fully realizing a “thorough smoke-free environment in public places of Beijing.

The promulgation of the Several Provisions is a major action conducted by the Beijing Municipality, and also a big progress for our city to fully implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (hereinafter referred to as the Convention) proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On December 23, 1995, the 23rd meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th Beijing People’s Congress adopted the Provisions, specified the eight types of public places in our city where smoking is prohibited, and authorized the municipal government to determine other public places as smoke-free places according to the actual conditions. Since the implementation of the Provisions, the Beijing Government gave priority to publicity education of no smoking, strengthened the publicity education on smoking is harmful to health for teenagers, and conducted a serial of no smoking activities = to develop the “smoke-free units. While the publicity education is intensified, the municipal Patriotic Health Campaign Committee strengthens the enforcement and inspection, which enormously promotes the overall implementation of no smoking in pubic places in our city. The Office of the municipal Patriotic Health Campaign Committee authorized Capital Medical University to conduct the sampling survey on implementation of the Provisions in 1995, 2001, 2004 and 2007 respectively. The results show that since the implementation of the Provisions, the average smoking rate for residents of above 15 years old in = the city sees a year-by-year downward trend, from 34.5% in 1995 to 23.0% in 2007, decreasing by around one percentage point per annum.

There are totally 11 articles in the Several Provisions newly promulgated on May 1. In public places where smoking is absolutely prohibited, public places where smoking is partially prohibited and business places offering the accommodation and rest services such as hotel, inn, rest house and training center, provisions on no smoking is specified. Meanwhile, the responsibility of units and publicity education responsibility of the media are intensified. Furthermore, for the purpose of guaranteeing the effective implementation of supervision and management measures, increasing the law enforcement of no = smoking, the Several Provisions stipulates that the offices of Patriotic Health Campaign Committee at the municipal, district or county levels may authorize the health bureau at the municipal, district or county levels to perform appropriate administrative punishments.

The Several Provisions further expand the no smoking scope in public places, specify the responsibilities of the public place administration organ, improve the management measures on no smoking in public places and lay a sound foundation for achieving a smoke-free Olympics and fully realizing the goal of thorough smoke-free environment in public places.

Smoking is harmful to health is one of the most severe public health issues all over the current world. According to the statistics of the WHO, there are presently around 1.3 billion smokers all around the world, and around five million people die of diseases related to smoking each year. The Report on Smoking Control by China in 2007 showed that people who die of passive smoking exceed 100,000 each year in China. The Global Teenager Smoking Survey participated by China indicated that the hazard percentages for teenagers by secondhand smoking in home and in public = places are 43.9% and 55.8% respectively. As of October 2006, total 154 countries or regions all over the world have promulgated provisions on no smoking in pubic places.

The Convention is the first international convention on public health formulated by the WHO, which marks that tobacco control has become a global campaign and holds the legal force of international law. In August 2005, the 17th session of the standing committee of the 10th National People’s Congress adopted the Convention. The Convention took effect on January 9, 2006 in China, and will be fully implemented nationwide on January 9, 2011. This means that China should achieve a thorough smoke-free environment in working places, public means of transportation and indoor pubic places within = three years.

No smoking in public places is the request of keeping our promise to stage a smoke-free Olympics. In 1993, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the WHO entered into an agreement on strengthening cooperation in sports and health and agreed to achieve the all-round cooperation between the IOC and the WHO in 2000. One of the most important cooperation is to realize a thorough smoke-free environment during the Olympic Games. The smoke-free Olympics not only includes the refusal of sponsorships from tobacco advertisements and tobacco producers, more importantly, but also realize = a smoke-free environment in public places of competition venues. For the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, our government made the commitment of staging a smoke-free Olympics. The Beijing Olympic Games is also the first Olympics after the Convention takes effect. Therefore, for the purpose of representing the concepts of “Green Olympics, People’s Olympics and Hi-tech Olympics, it is necessary for our city to expand the no smoking scope in public places and intensify the no smoking work. When we take counsel with the public, most citizens in the city agree and support the provisions = on no smoking in public places.

Sun Xuanli, Vice Director of Beijing Municipal Patriotic Health Campaign Committee said, the Municipal Patriotic Health Campaign Committee especially trained more than one thousand of tobacco control supervisors who will supervise the enforcement of related regulations in all streets, countryside and towns of Beijing. At present, all enterprises and public institutions in Beijing City assign 60,000 plus tobacco control inspectors to supervise and inspect the tobacco control. Besides, the health departments at the district and country levels should supervise the tobacco control = activities in the areas under their jurisdiction, strengthen the law enforcement, warn the noncompliance units to rectify their wrongdoings within limited time and are entitled to impose 1,000 – 5,000 yuan of penalty on violated units and 10 yuan on infringed individuals.