China is once again puffing out another attempt to curb the health effects of cigarettes, this time by renewing a commitment to banning indoor smoking.
Starting May 1, China's 300 million smokers will theoretically no longer be allowed to light up in public places, including hotels and restaurants.
The restrictions are included in new public health guidelines set by China's Ministry of Health that also outlaw sales of cigarettes in vending machines and require business owners to put up no-smoking signs.
The revived effort comes weeks after the central government rolled out its latest five-year development roadmap, which includes a proposal to ban smoking in public places.
More than 1 million people a year die in China due to tobacco-related illnesses, according to a report, 'Tobacco Control and China's Future,' issued in January by a group of 60 Chinese public-health experts. The report also said health costs related to tobacco accounted for nearly 62 billion yuan, or roughly $9.5 billion, in 2010 and will remain a financial burden if the government doesn't take greater measures to decrease tobacco use.
Beijing has said long said it is determined to tackle the country's smoking problem but has so far met with little success.
事实上，中国在2006年签署世界卫生组织（World Health Organization）的《烟草控制框架公约》时就曾表示，从2011年1月9日起，中国将在室内公共场合和工作场所实现全面禁烟，上述禁烟新规是中国没能在这一最后期之前实现禁烟目标后制定的。
In fact, the new regulations come months after China missed a Jan. 9 deadline to restrict indoor smoking, set when Beijing signed the World Health Organization's 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2006.
China has recently tried to curb the country's taste for tobacco without resorting to outright prohibitions, which many say would lead to a public outcry or simply be ignored.
In February, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television （SARFT）， restricted film and TV producers from featuring long scenes with smokers and shots showing cigarette brands. It also prohibited minors from appearing in scenes with smokers. In 2009, authorities raised the tax on premium cigarettes （those costing more than 7 yuan, or roughly $1） to 56% from 45% while increasing the tax lower-grade cigarettes to 36% from 30%.
据国际防肺结核与抗肺部疾病联合会（International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease）的高级项目官甘泉说，中国在大规模禁烟方面最接近成功的一次是在2008年北京奥运会前夕。当时北京和其他一些城市的地方官员派出警力去检查餐馆的禁烟情况，以提升本城市在外来参观者眼中的形像。甘泉说，小企业主们那时觉得比较容易让主顾们熄灭香烟。
The closest China has come to succeeding in its big smoke stamp-out attempt was in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, according to Gan Quan, a senior project officer with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Local officials in Beijing and in some other cities policed restaurants in attempt to improve the city's image to outside visitors. At that time, small business owners felt comfortable telling their patrons to put out their cigarettes, Mr. Gan said.
Enforcement of smoking regulations has always been the biggest obstacle to tobacco control, according to Mr. Gan. Concerns over enforcement were cited as the main reason the southern city of Nanchang dropped ambitious anti-smoking legislation late last year. Meanwhile, a number of cities that managed to get smoking restrictions on the books have since watched them go largely ignored.
That may continue to be the case this time around. The Ministry of Health says officials are allowed to fine smokers up to 30,000 yuan but does not specify which violation would warrant such a large fine.
2011-03-29 11:12 编辑：icetonado