The Ministry of Health is to revise smoking regulations in order to ban the noxious activity in public areas, public transport and indoor work places.
Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said it had begun revising health management regulations in public areas, which will be submitted to the central government for examination and approval.
"Educational and medical institutions, and places offering services to children will be among the first places with smoking bans," he said.
The revisions will offer policy support in the run-up to a non-smoking Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
In August last year, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, banning tobacco vending machines.
The treaty also institutes a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in all forms of media within five years. It also prohibits any kind of tobacco sponsorship during international events and activities.
China is obligated to submit a report to the WHO in 2008 on its implementation of the treaty.
A consulting committee of experts wil offer advice to the government on this process, focusing on testing methods and standards for habit-breaking products for smokers.
The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration estimates that China has over 350 million smokers, about a third of the world's smoking population. Each year, about 700,000 die from smoking-related diseases.
(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2006)