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May 30, 2013

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Experts pushing for smoking ban on public venues

HEALTH experts are pushing for an amendment to the city's first anti-smoking law - that was enacted in 2010 - to be passed that will ban smoking in public venues.

Ahead of the World No Tobacco Day tomorrow, legislators, who are studying the amendment, said the new regulation should clearly define smoking and non-smoking areas, simplify the process of imposing punishment on violators and promote non-smoking venues.

Hu Zhaoming, who heads an anti-smoking body, said the authorities focused too much on the feasibility of the first smoking control law while "failing to meet the requirement of the World Health Organization Framework Convention Tobacco Control," of which China is also a signatory.

The current anti-smoking law, which came into effect on March 1, 2010, bans smoking in 13 venues, including kindergartens, museums and internet bars. It requires splitting smoking and non-smoking areas at entertainment venues like dancing halls, restaurants and starred hotels.

"We want the amendment to be in line with the framework, which went into force in 2005, and was also signed by China," Hu said.

"According to the framework, smoking should be banned in all workplaces and public areas. Even though the amended law fails to insist on such a ban, it must regulate where people can smoke instead of insisting on smoking and non-smoking areas at public places.

"Such divisions hardly protect the non-smokers," Hu said.

The amended law should also make it easy to penalize offenders and save the manpower and energy of law enforcement agencies, officials said.


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