City residents in call for total smoking ban

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, June 1, 2012
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More than 80 percent of Shanghai residents want a complete smoking ban in restaurants, entertainment venues and Internet cafes to replace the rather complex rules at present and suggest the government expand the ban to all working places, according to a survey released yesterday, World No Tobacco Day.

Li Yanhong, chairman of the search engine giant Baidu Inc joins Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to get their message across in Beijing on Tuesday. []

Li Yanhong, chairman of the search engine giant Baidu Inc joins Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to get their message across in Beijing on Tuesday. []

About 54 percent of residents were against charity programs sponsored by tobacco companies and 60 percent said cigarette packs should, as in other countries, carry warning messages about the dangers of smoking.

Around 15,000 Shanghai residents took part in the survey on city government website

More than 50 percent of respondents said they were aware that cigarette smoke was the major source of indoor PM2.5 and knew that low-tar and herbal cigarettes were also harmful to health, said officials with the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission, which conducted the survey.

"We are working on a project to push local legislators to reinforce anti-tobacco controls by banning smoking completely inside all public venues," said Tang Qiong, a commission official. "PM2.5 inspection machines have just been installed in two Internet cafes to study the impact of smoking on indoor air quality and collect solid information for public education."

Tang said the information gathered would be made available to the public.

PM2.5 refers to fine particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter which pose major health risks as they are small enough to lodge in the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.

Previous research has found that the density of PM2.5 in places with smokers was much higher than in smoke-free venues.

Shanghai legislators said last month that they planned to pass an amendment early next year in order to fix loopholes in the current law, which took effect in March 2010.

Legislators said the current rules are too complicated in defining which parts of public places should be smoke-free, hampering efforts to enforce them.

Officials from the Shanghai People's Congress said discussions will begin in December on the current law and the major thrust will be to simply ban smoking in all indoor public areas, regardless of their function. Currently, rules differ by the type of venue, such as the size of a restaurant.

A total of 66 premises and five individuals were fined a total of 157,750 yuan (US$24,747) last year for violating the city's smoking laws.

Around 24.7 percent of Shanghai residents smoke, while as many as 44.3 percent of men in the city are smokers, according to the latest figures released by the Shanghai Health Bureau.

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