Long way to go for China’s tobacco control

Updated: 2013-02-27 21:50

(China Daily)

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China recently issued its China Tobacco Control Plan (2012-15), prompting wide criticism for the plan’s lack of concrete actions. The difficulty confronting China’s tobacco control work has not dwindled at all, says an article in China Business News. Excerpts:

The International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has been in effect in China for seven years. The smoking population’s proportion in the overall population of China remains at a similar level as seven years ago.

About 300 million Chinese are smokers, the other 740 million are victims suffering from second-hand smoke. As tobacco control has become an important public policy in the world, the Chinese government must do something to not only fulfill its obligation and responsibility as a signatory of the framework convention, but also care for the public health of its citizens.

China should cut tobacco supplies and try all means to reduce tobacco consumption. There is experience in both areas for China to follow.

For example, the mass media and public health departments can launch well-targeted publicity campaigns to raise the public’s awareness of the harms of tobacco use. Raising the prices of tobacco products has proved an effective way to reduce tobacco consumption.

The most difficult part is to transform China’s State-owned tobacco industry through the whole chain of plantation, production and sales. Research indicates that China spends more money in treating patients of tobacco-caused illnesses than the revenue it gets from the seemingly lucrative industry.

If Chinese decision-makers can see through the picture, they will provide more support for China’s tobacco-control.