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Light up, and 100 yuan may go up in smoke

[ 2010-05-31 13:33]     字号 [] [] []  
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People who light up in no-smoking areas may soon face a 100-yuan fine instead of the 10-yuan penalty that's on the books today.

The city's health promotion committee said on Sunday it is considering hefty increases in smoking penalties, but the amount has yet to be determined.

Liu Zejun, director of the committee, said the new penalties for companies and individuals may jump by as much as 10 times.

In 2008, the committee released its no-smoking regulations, where companies and public sector organizations can be fined 1,000 to 5,000 yuan for violations. The penalty for individuals is 10 yuan.

"We need to promote the campaign strongly, and raising the penalty for smokers is a good practice," he said. "In some developed countries, the penalty is much higher than in China.

"It informs smokers about the damage they are doing to others."

The committee has more than 1,200 supervisors to enforce the no-smoking laws. However, a supervisor in Haidian district, who didn't want to be named, said they usually just tell offenders not to smoke and do not collect the fine.

"It's hard to collect the fine because most people think smoking is their legal right, even in public," he said.

However, he said if the no-smoking rules are implemented as strongly as traffic regulations, people will take them more seriously. Liu said more than 40 percent of the city's 1,308 hospitals had met the requirement of the nation's anti-smoking campaign.

Two weeks ago, the government announced that smoking will be banned in all hospitals by the end of this year. At the same time, a survey by the Beijing health bureau shows that as many as one in three doctors is a smoker.

On Friday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention released its 2010 China anti-smoking report, saying the number of women smokers had increased from only 2 percent in 2002 to more than 7 percent by the end of last year.

Many tobacco companies are now targeting women, the report said. More than 66 percent of men in China are smokers, the report said.

"More than 90 percent of lung cancer cases in women are related to smoking," said Zhi Xiuyi, general director of the Cancer Center of Beijing Capital Medical University. "And those women who smoke have a higher risk of contracting breast cancer.”

On Saturday, 59 law professionals from universities and the public sector got together to launch an anti-smoking campaign.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Light up, and 100 yuan may go up in smoke

About the broadcaster:

Light up, and 100 yuan may go up in smoke

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 fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.