Shanghai Expo Declared Smoke-free

News release

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health , are today declaring that the Shanghai Expo 2010 is smoke-free in accord with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 8: Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke. Following a process of iterative review and tightening of measures to create smoke-free environments in the Expo venue, tobacco control measures at Shanghai Expo have been steadily improving since the event opened on May 1. A survey by Fudan University indicates that the measures to create a smoke-free environment have been effectively implemented on the whole and are popular among visitors.

"Although we have not yet reached perfection, the achievements we've seen in Shanghai are very impressive," Said WHO Representative, Dr Michael O'Leary. "WHO congratulates China and Shanghai on putting effective policies in place and continually improving their implementation as they have proved feasible and popular over the past 6 months. We look forward to seeing these policies expanded to all of Shanghai and to all of China to protect people from deadly tobacco smoke."

All pavilion indoor public areas and restaurants are 100% smoke-free. Outdoor smokers are directed to designated smoking areas only. Lighters are confiscated at the security posts at Expo venue entry gates. Visitors receive text messages on their mobile phones advising them that smoking is allowed only in designated areas, and hundreds of volunteers are on hand to remind visitors of the smoke-free policy, reinforcing abundant signage and loudspeaker messages. Pavilion-holders received a letter from Shanghai authorities advising them that smoking is not allowed anywhere in any of the pavilions. Attendance at Shanghai Expo has reached more than one million people in a day, and nearly 70 million people have enjoyed the smoke-free environment in the venue.

Dr. Qin Huaijin, Acting Director General, Department of Maternal and Child Health and Community Health, Ministry of Health noted: "The long duration of the Expo and the high population of visitors made the smoke-free Expo very challenging to implement." The smoke-free Expo further indicates that the policy of banning smoking 100% in indoor public places and workplaces is not only widely accepted in China, but also, it is popular. The 'smoke-free' Expo will certainly help advance the implementation of WHO-FCTC in China."

Tobacco use causes 1 in 10 deaths among adults worldwide – more than 5 million deaths a year globally and approximately 1 million deaths per year in China. This annual death toll is rising. As about one third of the world's smokers are Chinese, full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in China is vitally important. The creation of smoke-free environments at Shanghai Expo including 100% smoke-free restaurants and pavilions is an important proof of concept showing that these measures are effective, feasible and popular in mainland China. Expo visitors and workers have been largely compliant in keeping indoor areas smoke-free and limiting outdoor smoking to designated smoking areas. The creation of a smoke-free Shanghai would bring the city up to the standard of world-class cities in developed and developing countries that have taken these measures. Examples include New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and thousands of cities in the 17 countries that are already smoke-free.

"Full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will help current tobacco users quit, protect people from second-hand smoke and prevent young people from taking up the habit, among a host of other benefits,” added Dr O'Leary. The Convention calls for all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport to be 100% smoke-free.

For more information, please contact:
Vivian Tan
Communications Officer
WHO China
Tel: +86 10 6532 7191