China signals tobacco ad ban

China looks set to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, including sponsorship and promotions, by January 2011.

China, one the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco with an estimated 350 million smokers, is obligated to ban all forms of tobacco advertising under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Xu Guihau, deputy leader and secretary-general of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said China should take the issue of tobacco advertising seriously.

“China is quite backward when it comes to controlling the use of tobacco, and the biggest problem is the lack of national regulations to ban smoking,” Guihau said.

A ban on tobacco advertising has been in place since January 1996, but tobacco firms have managed to sidestep the rules promoting their brands in more subtle ways such as sponsoring sporting events.

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