A Chinese political advisor has called for a national tobacco control law that bans smoking in all public places across the country.
Only 45.7 percent of Chinese cities have introduced local bans on smoking, and many bans usually exclude workplaces, restaurants and bars, said Jin Dapeng, vice chairman of the China Health Law Society.
The punishments for violating the regulations were also too gentle, said Jin, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body.
A lot had been done in tobacco control, but it was not enough to fulfill China's commitment to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Jin said on the sidelines of the annual session of the advisory body.
China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005. The convention took effect in January 2006, requiring signatories to take recommended measures, including a complete ban on smoking in public places that could cut tobacco use.
In 2010, China had a smoking population of 356 million, with men over 15 years old making up 62.8 percent of that total. Moreover, 738 million non-smokers fell victim to effects of second-hand smoke, according to Jin.
Jin called for the media to boost public knowledge of the convention and raise public awareness about people's rights not to be harmed by tobacco use.