seeks to ban purchase of cigarettes with public funds
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[April 11, 2014]
— China's capital Beijing is proposing to ban the use of
government money to buy cigarettes, either as gifts or to be
provided at official functions, state media said on Friday, in the
latest move to try and curtail smoking.
China, home to some 300 million smokers, is the
world's largest consumer of tobacco, and smoking is a ubiquitous
part of social life, particularly for men. Cartons of cigarettes are
commonly given as presents or provided at formal events.
The Beijing government rules, currently in the proposal stage, would
ban cigarettes being provided or given at any official event, the
official Xinhua news agency reported.
The rules also seek a ban on promotional sales activities or
advertising for cigarettes and a ban on smoking in public places
like train stations, hospitals and schools, with fines of up to 200
yuan ($32), the report said.
Beijing, along with other parts of China, already bans smoking in
many public places, though the rules are generally ignored.
Xinhua did not say when the new rules may go into effect.
Tougher regulation of smoking is a priority this year, officials
from the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in
January, adding that the agency was pushing lawmakers to toughen
laws on tobacco use.
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The ruling Communist Party said last year that
officials must not light up in schools, workplaces, stadiums, and on
public transport, among other places, so as to set a positive
($1 = 6.2125 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Li Hui;
editing by Ron Popeski)
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