Tobacco Control Experts Call For Ban Of Sales Within 100m Of Schools In China
Jul 21, 2020
China’s non-government organization on smoking, the Chinese Association of Tobacco Control, called for a legislation to ban tobacco sales within 100 meters of school compounds at a symposium on Monday.
Professionals from the disciplines of tobacco control, protection of minors and law reached a consensus that the draft amendment to the country’s law on protection of minors should stipulate a precise distance on the points of tobacco sales in the vicinity of schools.
A poster reading "You are on smoking-free campus. No smoking," is seen at a school in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. /CFP
Liao Wenke, the vice president of the association, said the draft amendment should be practical and thus an exact distance must be written in.
China passed its law on protection of minors in 1991 and then drafted amendments in 2006 and 2012. This third drafting started in October 2019, and prohibits sales of tobacco, alcohol and lottery near a school and, for the first time, also included vaping.
Electronic cigarettes are a potential threat to children and the youth as fruit-flavored e-cigarettes have appealed to youngsters,” Sun Jia'ni with the Tobacco Free Initiative told Beijing Daily and added that there is evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke regular cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use kills more than eight million people around the world. More than seven million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
In the neighboring country of South Korea, the ban on cigarette sales to minors was written in its National Health Promotion Act in 1995. And since 2003, smoking has been strictly banned in kindergartens, schools, children’s playgrounds and universities. Five years later, the law was expanded stipulating a ban on smoking within 10 meters of kindergartens and day care centers.
Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore has carried out a ban on point-of-sale display on any tobacco product from 2017 to reduce exposure to non-smokers and help smokers quit.
China has been on the path to tobacco control with cities having implemented local ban on smoking. In the capital city of Beijing, tobacco control ordinances that were passed in 2014 states that sales to minors are prohibited in stores, automatic vending machine or online and points of tobaccos sales are not allowed within 100 meters of kindergartens, schools or academic institutions.
In its “‘Healthy China’ Outline Plan 2030,” the country pledged to beef up tobacco control by pricing, taxing and legislation, aiming to lower the prevalence of smokers aged 15 and above down to 20 percent.
According to the Center for Disease Control of China (CDC), the population of junior high school students who attempt to smoke or are smoking has seen a decrease over the past five years. In 2019, 12.9 percent of junior high school students attempted to smoke regular cigarettes and 3.9 percent of them were smoking the regular ones, down five percent and two percent respectively compared to 2014.