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Gates spearheads anti-smoking push

[ 2012-05-31 10:43] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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To mark this year's World No Tobacco Day, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched the first-ever anti-smoking social media campaign in China to raise public awareness, particularly of secondhand smoking.

The online campaign, "Say No to Forced Smoking," will enroll more than 1,000 volunteers across the mainland, including some celebrities, to upload their anti-smoking photos to social networking sites such as Sina Weibo.

Official estimates suggest nearly 740 million people suffer from secondhand smoke on the Chinese mainland.

"The campaign aims to make the public become aware of health impacts by forced smoking and their right to say no to it, particularly in public places," said Ray Yip, chief representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in China.

Public awareness on the mainland remained low in this regard, he said, adding: "It is important to change the social norm among Chinese that smoking is common practice."

Each country and region needs a shift in opinion that smoking in public harms other people's health and therefore is shameful, he said. That change came in the 1970s in the United States and most industrialized countries.

"Laws and regulations already in place in more than 100 Chinese cities should go hand in hand with a changed social norm for effective smoking and tobacco controls," he said.

His remarks were echoed by Wu Yiqun, an anti-tobacco campaigner with the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, an NGO committed to smoking control in Beijing.

"The campaign will influence young people's perception of smoking and make the epidemic less attractive to them," she said.

To encourage public participation in the campaign, the foundation has distributed more than 1,000 T-shirts with the slogan "Say No to Forced Smoking" to volunteers, primarily in 10 major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou, according to Zhang Jing, publicity officer of the foundation's Beijing office.

Business tycoons such as Robin Li, founder and CEO of Baidu.com, and film stars such as Fan Bingbing, are among the volunteers, she said.

At a ceremony on Tuesday, high-ranking Chinese officials including Vice-Minister of Health Yin Li, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Zhang Laiwu, and Zhao Baige, executive vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, posed for a group photo with Bill Gates to show their support for the campaign. Peng Liyuan, China's anti-smoking image ambassador, also attended the ceremony.

All of them wore the anti-smoking T-shirts.

Bill Gates participated in the video shoot for a public service announcement of "Say No to Forced Smoking," which is produced by the foundation and China's Social Media for Social Good Alliance, composed of leading Chinese Internet enterprises such as Sina, Tencent and Baidu.


1. What’s happening to mark this year's World No Tobacco Day?

2. What is the focus of the campaign?

3. How will it be done?


1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched an anti-smoking social media campaign in China.

2. To raise public awareness, particularly of secondhand smoking.

3. The online campaign, Say No to Forced Smoking, will enroll more than 1,000 volunteers to upload anti-smoking photos to social networking sites such as Sina Weibo.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Gates spearheads anti-smoking push

About the broadcaster:

Gates spearheads anti-smoking push

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.