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Thursday, November 27, 2014, 17:11

Gates foundation pushes anti-smoking campaign in China

By Xinhua
Gates foundation pushes anti-smoking campaign in China

Bill Gates, founder Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks during a "Lessons from Leaders" event on Ebola in Washington, DC, September 29, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON)

BEIJING -To advance its anti-smoking campaign, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched a social media campaign in China to raise public awareness, and especially aiming to empower non-smokers.

A charity song, "Say No to Forced Smoking", which carried the same name as the campaign was unveiled Wednesday in Beijing and the music video will be uploaded to several Chinese video streaming websites.

The online campaign has invited more than 1,000 volunteers, including some celebrities, to share their anti-smoking stories across social networking sites such as Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

Angela Pratta, who is leading the World Health Organization's (WHO) Tobacco Free Initiative in China, said the WHO wanted to make use of new media as a communication platform to discuss health-related issues with the public.

Lang Yongchun, a TV host and one of the campaign's volunteers, said education, especial aimed at the younger generation, was crucial to ensure people led healthy lives.

"I admit that smokers have the right to smoke, but you should not harm non-smokers' health," said Wu Yiqun, an anti-tobacco campaigner with the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, an NGO committed to smoking control in Beijing.

"Every non-smoker should say: 'Say No to Forced Smoking' to those smokers in public spaces," Wu added.

China has more than 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke and over 100 thousand people die of forced smoking every year.

China is considering tougher tobacco controls. A draft regulation published by the legislative affairs office of the State Council, the Chinese Cabinet, is open for public consultation on Monday.

The draft bans smoking in all kinds of indoor public spaces and all forms of advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products.

 
 
 
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