China's central government is preparing to pass the country's first ever set of national rules to limit smoking in public places, according to a Bloomberg report citing Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new rules will be included in a package of new public health regulations that have been submitted to and approved by the State Council, China's cabinet, Yang said.
These first moves to restrict smoking in public places including hospitals, schools and cinemas in 20 provinces will not come as good news to China's State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, whose deputy director told reporters earlier in the month during the annual legislative meetings of the National People's Congress and the National People's Political Consultative Conference that "restraining smoking threatens social stability".
A 2005 report by Yang estimated that half of China's non-smokers are second-hand smokers. Yang said that if trends experienced in the US hold true in China, 30 percent of China's deaths could be smoking-related by the year 2030. It is estimated that smoking is connected to one million deaths a year in China.
It won't be easy to sell China - a country with 350 million smokers - or Yunnan on the benefits of smoking restrictions. Aside from the resistance that will be put up by diehard smokers, there are also economic considerations, particularly in Yunnan, which produces the vast majority of China's tobacco and is home to the largest cigarette production base in Asia - the Hongta Group's production facility in Yuxi, one hour south of Kunming.
Local companies like Hongta, Honghe and the Kunming Cigarette Factory are major employers in Yunnan - and some of the biggest taxpayers. It is estimated that half of the Yunnan provincial government's revenue comes from tobacco and there are more than 1.7 million farmers in Yunnan who support themselves with tobacco-generated income.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.