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China officials banned from publicly smoking to encourage national ban

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The Associated Press reports on Dec. 30 that China is attempting to cut back the number of people who smoke by banning public officials from smoking in public places, including government buildings, schools, sporting venues, hospitals or while using public transportation. The ban comes from China’s government, or the State Council.

Prior to this ban, anti-smoking measures have been carried out on the local level. However, there was never enough manpower to enforce the bans. The health ministry banned smoking in restaurants and hotels, but no punishments were detailed and it was never determined how the bans could be enforced.

This law is hoped to lead to a national ban on smoking in public places. Public officials are being used as an example to encourage others to put out their cigarette before entering public places. Officials are also barred from publicly offering a cigarette to each other while performing their duties. Within the government, tobacco advertisements and products are banned as well.

Associated Press notes that this is the first time a ban like this has come from a high-up position in government. Most anti-smoking campaigns have been unsuccessful because of the monopoly of the state-owned tobacco industry.

It seems like a strange tactic but perhaps with such a large population, herd mentality could be the best move to make.

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