Ministry of Health workshop is the first step towards a national smokefree law in China
For the first time, China's Ministry of Health has taken the lead on the discussion of a national smokefree law. The Ministry organised a workshop on smokefree legislation in Beijing on 30 July 2012 for key officials involved in law-making and experts involved in smokefree promotion.
In early 2012, The Union proposed a government-hosted workshop to the Ministry of Health as a significant opportunity to further China's progress toward meeting their commitments to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. China ratified the Convention in 2005.
Participants at the workshop reviewed the current status of smokefree legislation in selected cities, and suggested next steps for building on these experiences to facilitate progress on national tobacco control legislation. The Union supported the Ministry of Health's preparations for the workshop and continues to work with Ministry staff to encourage broader engagement on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
During the workshop, the Ministry of Health acknowledged the importance of recent achievements on smokefree legislation in Harbin and Tianjin. These cities are pioneers among the seven cities supported by The Union's Smokefree Environment Promotion and Legislation Project. Representatives from Harbin and Tianjin introduced their experiences with promoting and passing smokefree laws.
Inspired by China's sub-national successes, participants moved on to discuss the feasibility of a national tobacco control law and map out the political route for achieving this legislation. The Union has continued to champion sub-national tobacco control as one of the most effective means of influencing national legislative priorities in China and globally.
Qin Geng, Deputy Director General of the Department of Maternal and Child Health Care and Community Health, expressed commitment to adopting a national smokefree law as a first step towards comprehensive tobacco control legislation in China. He acknowledged the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to work with the People's Congress, as well as legal experts and international organizations, such as The Union, to extend sub-national smokefree achievements to the national level.