BEIJING – China has banned its officials from smoking in public to set an example to the rest of the country that has the world’s largest number of smokers.
The official Xinhua News Agency said officials are not allowed to smoke in schools, hospitals, sports venues, on public transport or any other places where smoking is banned, or to smoke or offer cigarettes when performing official duties. They also cannot use public funds to buy cigarettes, and within Communist Party or government offices tobacco products cannot be sold nor ads displayed.
Xinhua said the rules were contained in a circular from the Communist Party’s central committee.
There is no nationwide law banning smoking in indoor public places, but the government has tried to ban the practice in the past. In 2011, the Health Ministry issued guidelines banning smoking in venues including hotels and restaurants, but these are not strictly enforced. Experts say huge revenues from the state-owned tobacco monopoly hinder anti-smoking measures.
China has more than 300 million smokers.