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Friday, April 24, 2015, 21:49

China stubs out tobacco ads

By Xinhua
China stubs out tobacco ads
A man smokes outside the Asia -Pacific Economic Cooperation summit venue in Beijing on Nov 6, 2014. (AFP Photo)

BEIJING - China's top legislature on Friday adopted an amendment to the Advertisement Law that restricts tobacco advertising to minors.

The amendment to the 1994 Advertisement Law was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and will take effect on Sept 1.

Tobacco advertising will be forbidden on mass media, in public places, public vehicles and outdoors. Advertisements for other products or services should not include tobacco products, their packaging or trademarks.

Gan Lin, deputy head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, told a press conference that her administration would revise departmental regulations and deal with any breaches of the new rules.

China signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003, which requires all signatories to "comprehensively ban all tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship." A full ban has yet to be enacted in consideration of tobacco farmers in poor and remote areas.

Liu Shuangzhou, deputy head of the law school at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said the revised law will disappoint some people. Tobacco farmers' interests are not a solid reason, as no data showed that sales dropped in countries with full bans on tobacco ads. Bans are aimed at preventing minors from starting smoking, and are ineffective against smokers.

However, Liu said the result was acceptable, as legislation is a result of balancing different interests. Clearly banning outdoor tobacco ads is a progress.

There are more than 300 million smokers in China, with another 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke.

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