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Guangzhou stubs out smoking

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, September 9, 2010
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The nation's toughest smoking ban has been enacted by the Guangzhou City authority.

Under the Guangzhou Smoking Control Regulation, which came into effect on September 1, smoking is banned in the city's 12 categories of public places including offices, conference rooms, halls and elevators, while in six other kinds of places such as airports, shopping centers and restaurants with over 75 seats, smoking is to be allowed only in designated areas.

Individuals who flout the rules will be fined 50 yuan (US$7.35) and businesses which allow smoking can be fined up to 30,000 yuan.

Beijing's commitment to hosting a "No-smoking Olympics" inspired Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province, to commit itself to a no-smoking promise during the 16th Asian Games which will open on November 12.

But with 2.3 million, or 22.8 percent of its 10 million population being smokers, the host city has found this is not an easy task.

"Smokers in Guangzhou are such a massive group. We hope to use the strictest smoking-control bans to make local residents smoke less or even give up cigarettes once and for all," said Yao Rongbin, president of the Smoking Control Association of Guangzhou.

According to the city's "No-smoking Asian Games" commitment, anti-smoking warnings will be posted in all competition venues, gyms and ticket booths.

"The coming Asian Games offered us a superb chance to ensure the building of a healthy and civilized Guangzhou," said Hu Bingjie, a medical care and health department official of the event's organizing committee.

Li Li, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Guangzhou, the city's legislature, said the ultimate goal of the regulation was not to impose fines, but to lead smokers to smoke less or stop smoking altogether. "The stress of the regulation is on education and deterrence. Imposing fines is just the means. Later, the amount of the fine might be lifted," Li said.

Jiang Huan, deputy director of China's National Tobacco Control Office, said banning smoking nationwide would deal a heavy blow to the tobacco industry. And he said that nearly a tenth of the country's tax revenue comes from tobacco.

Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province has employed 10,000 smoking-control supervisors and volunteers to work in the city's public places and, earlier this week, seven universities, including the Peking and Zhejiang universities, announced the establishment of non-smoking campuses.

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