China tightens rules on smoking in public places and indirect advertising

The Ministry of Health of China issued a set of rules in March 2011 on implementation of the Regulations on Hygienic Management in Public Places that had been issued by the State Council. The rules state that smoking is banned in indoor public places. Managers of such areas are required to put in place notices to inform the public of this measure, and vending machines are not allowed. Outdoor smoking areas should not be positioned so that people are obliged to pass close to them. In addition, managers of indoor public areas should actively carry out health education about the harms of smoking, and arrange for smoking cessation services to be provided. The rule has been in force since 1 May 2011.

In addition, in June 2011 the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health jointly released guidelines with regard to the further enhancement of tobacco control in schools. All indoor and outdoor areas of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, including vocational schools, should be smoke free; moreover, all indoor areas of schools, such as teaching areas, offices and libraries should also be smoke free.

In February 2011 the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued a Notification stating that it is forbidden to show tobacco brands or carry out indirect tobacco advertising in film and on television; scenes of people smoking in public places where there are national or local tobacco bans are also forbidden; and there should be no scenes in which adolescents are shown to be smoking. The Notification also emphasized that plots and scenes concerning tobacco should be limited. Films and television shows containing too many scenes of people smoking are not allowed to participate in any awards events held by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

More information can be obtained from Dr Li Xinhua, tobacco control focal point, Ministry of Health (lixh@moh.gov.cn).

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