China struggles with WHO anti-tobacco treaty

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At least 1 million people in China die every year from the impacts of smoking, but what is being done to reduce this?

As well as ensuring that all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport are smoke-free within five years, the WHO agreement requires countries to fight smoking. This should be done by raising cigarette prices and taxes, implementing health warnings on cigarette packs and banning tobacco advertising.

Whilst many other countries have successfully managed the anti-tobacco treaty backed by the World Health Organization, China appears to be struggling to meet banning smoking at public indoor venues by January 9th next year.

However, despite their struggles with hitting their deadline, they have had some success over the past few years. China has banned tobacco advertising on radio, television and newspapers and outlawed smoking in some places, such as on airplanes. Also during the 2008 Olympics, Beijing and other host cities in China went smoke-free.

Despite all of these successes, the rate of smoking has not changed significantly and tobacco production has actually gone up. A projection by Oxford University professor Sir Richard Peto, shows that of the young Chinese men alive today, one in three will die from tobacco.

Critics say that this is because China falls short of WHO agreement’s requirements. They believe that warnings on Chinese cigarette packages are too small and tobacco tax increases are never passed down to smokers, but instead absorbed by the company.

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