WHO Welcomes New Regulations for a Smoke-free Beijing

2008-04-10 18:37 675

BEIJING, April 10, 2008 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The World Health Organization today welcomed the release of the Beijing Municipal Regulations on the Scope of Banning Smoking in Public Places. "WHO warmly congratulates the Municipality of Beijing on its exemplary progress towards creating a new smoke-free city," said Dr Hans Troedsson, WHO China Representative. "These landmark regulations lead the way for the rest of China."

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The Beijing regulations promote a new healthy lifestyle. "There is no safe level of tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke can and does kill people who have never smoked in their lives," Dr Troedsson emphasized. "Smoking is one of the largest health problems in China, and this year alone, tobacco will needlessly kill a million Chinese people."

"It is no wonder then that the Beijing Municipality has decided to take such effective measures to protect people from harm," he said. "Smoke-free places are safer, more pleasant and also help smokers to quit, which has an enormous positive impact on their health. This is a huge advance."

The new norm created by these regulations - ‘Smoke-Free Inside’ - will ensure that the people of Beijing - citizens, workers, students, athletes, people seeking medical care, and visitors - are nearly free from exposure to deadly second-hand smoke.

Through these regulations, Beijing is leading the way for other cities in China. Shanghai Municipality has recently begun the process of developing its own smoke-free law. "This is a growing movement and it is moving in the right direction," Dr Troedsson said.

Beijing is also contributing to the fulfillment of China’s commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -- the international treaty that is battling against smoking and tobacco-related illnesses. Through its ratification of the Convention in 2005, China has committed itself to take a number of measures, including the creation of smoke-free environments through instruments such as these regulations.

‘Smoke-Free Inside’ will bring Beijing much closer into line with global standards. More and more cities around the world -- including New York and Paris -- are 100% smoke-free inside. "All eyes will be on Beijing this summer so it is doubly important for Beijing to serve as a global and national example of progressive tobacco control," Dr Troedsson commented. "This momentous achievement will save lives and show Beijing at its best."

The regulations will ensure a smoke-free Beijing Olympic Games through the total ban on smoking in competition and spectator areas of stadiums and gymnasiums in perfect accord with WHO guidelines on protection from second-hand smoke. This is the first Olympic Gold for China!

Source: World Health Organization
Keywords: Food/Beverages