Shanghai residents want smoking banned indoors: survey

Thu May 31, 2012 11:52pm EDT
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - More than 80 percent of Shanghai residents want smoking banned in restaurants and entertainment areas, a survey showed, reflecting a growing awareness of health issues in China, the world's top consumer of tobacco.

Around a quarter of China's 1.3 billion people are smokers, or about as many people as there are in the United States, state media have said.

Shanghai, one of China's most populous cities, adopted its first anti-smoking law in 2010, requiring some public venues, such as hospitals, bars, restaurants and hotels, to establish no-smoking areas and put up signs prohibiting smoking.

But a survey by the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission of 15,000 residents, published on Thursday, showed that a majority of respondents favored a total ban in restaurants, entertainment venues and all working areas.

Sixty percent of the respondents said cigarette packs should carry labels warning smokers of health risks, and over 50 percent were opposed to charity events sponsored by tobacco companies.

China's Ministry of Health, in a report issued on Wednesday, warned that more than 3 million Chinese would die of smoking-related illnesses annually by 2050 if no measures were taken, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

The Shanghai government will begin discussions aimed at a complete ban on smoking in all indoor public areas, the Shanghai Daily reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Editing by John Ruwitch and Elaine Lies)