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December 30, 2010

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'Love China' ... but not smoking

CIGARETTE advertisements proclaiming "Love China" are damaging the country's reputation, according to a survey published yesterday by Fudan University.

Almost 70 percent of people questioned said linking the country with a brand of cigarettes was wrong and that the government should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, the survey found.

Experts are now calling on the city government to ban the indirect advertising of tobacco in public places.

About 50 percent of smokers and 40 percent of nonsmokers surveyed associate the patriotic slogan "Love China" with the scarlet billboards and posters of Chunghwa - a leading cigarette brand made by Shanghai Tobacco (Group) Co, said the survey based on 518 respondents.

The advert is a play on words as Chunghwa means China in Chinese. It says "Love China" in large characters, with the company's full name in much smaller characters.

"It's a bad connection which misleads young people," said Yu Zhenwei, a major researcher in the survey and deputy professor at the university's School of Journalism.

"The city government should ban such indirect advertisements," he added.

Researchers found that 95 percent of shopping malls, supermarkets and convenience stores in the city carry cigarette advertisements.

In a separate study, the university's researchers found that 13 percent fewer employees at public venues showed problems linked to inhaling secondhand smoke since the city's smoking ban came into effect on March 1.

They interviewed 2,254 workers at 51 venues and found that 35.6 percent of them are now exposed to secondhand smoke.


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