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China Promises a 'Non-smoking" Olympics
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China, with 350 million smokers that accounts for one third of the world's, has vowed to organize a "non-smoking" Olympic Games.


Zhang Bin, an official with the Ministry of Health (MOH), said Monday at a press conference that the MOH is cooperating with the Beijing organizing committee for the 2008 Olympics to ensure a non-smoking Games.


Smoking will be banned at all designated hospitals for the Games' service by the end of 2007, the official said.


The ban will also be expanded to public places like public transportation tools and offices, with places that offer services to children on top concern, Zhang said.


In his meeting with World Health Organization Director-General Lee Jong-Wook in 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said a non-smoking Games is on the top agenda in the country's preparation for a green Olympics.


The ministry has learned from the practice and experience of previous Games hosts to make anti-smoking measures, Zhang said.


The concept of a "non-smoking" Olympic Games was initiated in 1988, and the idea became true in Barcelona of Spain in 1992.


Considering the country's large smoking population, Zhang warned that China faces many obstacles to overcome in hosting a non-smoking Olympics.


The largest tobacco producer and consumer in the world, China reports about one million deaths of smoking each year, and the figure is expected to reach as many as three million in 2050.


(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2006)







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