For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Contact: CDC Media Relations
Make all Public Places 100% Smoke-free to Protect Public Health –
New tobacco survey results released in Beijing today
BEIJING, 18 August 2015 – Smoke-free environments are crucial for protecting the public from the harms of secondhand smoke, and there is very strong public support for making public places smoke-free in China. Strong laws are needed – and where they exist and are rigorously enforced, they work. These are the key findings from the results of the China City Adult Tobacco Survey, released in Beijing today.
“Secondhand smoke is toxic, and deadly. Yet this report shows that far too many people across cities in China – more than 4 in every 10 people in workplaces, for instance – are still being exposed. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and the only way to protect against its harms is to make all indoor places 100% smoke-free,” said Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in China.
“For years, many cities around China have been leading the charge on tobacco control in an effort to reduce the terrible impact of tobacco use on the health of their communities. We have seen this most recently in Beijing – where the country’s strongest tobacco control law to date came into effect on 1 June this year,” said Dr. Schwartländer.
The survey asked people a range of questions about tobacco use and their awareness of, and attitudes toward, tobacco control policies.
“The survey results demonstrate very strong public support for smoke-free environments. These results are very encouraging. The data shows that smoke-free public places are not only good for people’s health, they are also very popular with the public. Smoke-free policies are win-win,” said Dr Liang Xiaofeng, Deputy Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the results from the survey across cities highlight that the effectiveness of smoke-free policies depends on the strength of the laws themselves, and the rigour with which they are enforced. Stronger laws, when well enforced, deliver greater benefits. For example, rates of exposure to secondhand smoke were lower in cities with smoke-free regulations when compared to those without regulations, or in situations with weak and/or poorly implemented regulations.
“The U.S. data are crystal clear: smoke-free policies, raising the price of tobacco, and educating the public about the harmful use of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke saves lives,” said U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “However to be most effective, policies must be implemented across the board and laws must be enforced.”
“Political commitment is key to the success of smoke-free policies, both in passing a strong policy and in making sure it is well implemented,” said Dr Ehsan Latif, Director of Tobacco Control at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).