More than 300 million Chinese are believed to be smokers. But they create health risks for the entire population. Photo: iStock

Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, is considering extending a smoking ban in public outdoor areas, after the latest report on a revised draft of the city’s Control of Smoking Regulations.

At present, smoking is banned in indoor areas – all restaurants, workplaces, and public places in the city, to reduce harm from “second-hand smoke”, the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress of Wuhan City heard, the Paper reported.

According to statistical data, more than 300 million Chinese people are smokers or just over a quarter (26.6%) of citizens aged 15 and above. Around 740 million non-smokers have long suffered from inhaling smoke that they are exposed to. This figure includes 180 million children.

Given growing recognition of the serious risk to health from exposure to smoke, many countries around the world have already come up with strict tobacco control measures, and the scope of tobacco bans imposed in public places has been extended to public areas outdoors.

So, authorities in Wuhan have now decided to expand the smoking ban in public areas outdoors, particularly at public transport stops and stations, parks and plazas.

Separately, China’s State Council recently proposed 15 major special actions in its ‘Implementing a Healthy China Action Plan’. One of them was tobacco control.

According to the plan, it hopes that the proportion of people protected – living in a smoke-free environment – should reach 30% in 2022 and that the ratio will be over 80% of the population by the year 2030.

It said a total smoking ban should be implemented in indoor areas across the country, as well as public places outdoors to achieve a smoke-free environment for a genuinely healthy China.

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