China mulls tobacco control law
Updated: 2013-01-02 19:12
BEIJING -- China's top legislature is considering the country's first national tobacco control law, according to a report released Wednesday.
It is "quite necessary" to enact laws to control the dangers of smoking, says the report adopted at last Friday's closing session of a bimonthly meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, adding that such laws should be included in future legislation work plans after proper preparation.
China is the world's largest tobacco-producing and -consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers and another 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke, according to official statistics released in May.
However, only a few provinces and cities have enacted local legislation on public smoking bans, and no special law has been adopted at the national level.
During the NPC's plenary session in March, 90 NPC deputies submitted three bills on drafting a law on the prevention and control of tobacco hazards, according to the report from the Education, Science, Culture and Health Committee (ESCHC) of the NPC.
It also specifies that 139 deputies put forward another four bills calling for new laws on smoke-free public areas.
The ESCHC suggested that central administrative authorities in charge of related issues carefully study the bills and promptly carry out the research and investigation work necessary for drafting, it says.
China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, pledging measures to curb tobacco use.
The central government has pledged to introduce a public smoking ban in its 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) period.