Shenzhen leads way in smoking enforcement

Updated: 2015-07-09 07:49

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Shenzhen has done the best among China's major cities in enforcing the tobacco control law, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The report, released by the Beijing Impact Law Firm, also said enforcement in many major cities is lax.

Law enforcement authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, inspected nearly 130,000 establishments and imposed fines of more than 552,000 yuan ($89,000) on individuals, and on owners of premises, who violated the regulation as of the end of March since the city's new tobacco control regulation took effect on March 1 last year.

The regulation bans smoking in most indoor public places in Shenzhen and subjects individual violators to a fine of up to 500 yuan, one of the harshest among major Chinese cities.

The report is based on replies from 15 major cities that have tobacco control regulations. The law firm applied to the governments in these cities for disclosure of information on tobacco control between April and early June.

The firm received information from 13 cities. Information on Beijing and Xining, Qinghai province, was unavailable because the two cities have just implemented new tobacco control regulations.

Hangzhou and Shanghai also performed well in enforcing tobacco control, while some cities, including Shaoxing, in Zhejiang province, and Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, have never imposed any fines on violators since they implemented regulations, the report said.

Governments in different cities attach varying importance to tobacco control, with a great discrepancy in the punishment given to violators in different places, said Yang Jie, deputy director of the Tobacco Control Office at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Another reason is that imposing punishment in some cities is difficult because it requires more complicated procedures due to flaws in the regulations," he said.

Yang Gonghuan, a professor at Peking Union Medical College and an active tobacco control campaigner, said legislation in tobacco control is improving quickly and new regulations "are becoming easier to be carried out".

(China Daily 07/09/2015 page4)