Beijing seeks to ban purchase of cigarettes with public funds

BEIJING (Reuters) 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.

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 example.

($1 6.2125 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Li Hui Editing by Ron Popeski)

Pj lifestyle » should the age to buy cigarettes be 21?

Permanent adolescence in all senses other than that of age seems to be an increasing feature of our society.

by
Theodore Dalrymple

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January 14, 2014 1 00 pm Page 1 of 2 Next > View as Single Page Tweet

Just as a more permissive attitude to cannabis gains momentum in the United States, so does a more restrictive attitude to tobacco. It is as if there were a law of the conservation of prohibition if one substance is permitted after having been prohibited, another will be prohibited after having been permitted.

While Colorado permits the use of marijuana by those over 21 for any purpose, New York City prepares to prevent sales of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21. An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine comes out strongly in favor of this more restrictive approach to the sale of tobacco. The arguments it uses and those it refutes are instructive.

Those who go on to smoke throughout their lives generally start at an early age earlier, that is, than 21. Thus if adolescents could be discouraged from smoking, rates of smoking among adults would decline markedly.

Of course, it is not enough for something to be desired or desirable for it to be feasible. Such evidence as exists, however, suggests that restricting sales to minors might work. A town in Massachusetts, Needham, forbade the sale of tobacco to those under 21, and the rate of smoking among high school students declined by nearly half five years later. The rate in a neighboring town, which did not impose the ban, fell in the same time by only a third as much. Furthermore, raising the minimum drinking age to 21 was followed by (one cannot with absolute certainty say caused) a fall in alcohol consumption by adolescents, drunk driving, and motor accidents.

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