Stand up for health and say no to second-hand smoke! WHO China launches new #healthismyright social media campaign

3 May 2018 | BEIJING – Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) China is launching a new campaign #healthismyright as part of its successful #RUFree social media campaign. The campaign is designed to remind the public that not only is health a human right but that tobacco control policies such as smoke-free laws play an important part in ensuring and protecting people’s right to health.

As a kick-off to the campaign, WHO China is launching a new video last night, jointly produced with @Ergeng Chengdu, to show that smoking in indoor places can very quickly cause the PM2.5 indoor levels to skyrocket. Given the commitment to combat outdoor air pollution levels, the campaign aims to highlight the devastating health effects of indoor air pollution caused by cigarette smoking. The video also sends the message that legislation is needed to empower and protect the rights of non-smokers who are exposed without their consent to deadly second-hand smoke.

“Comprehensive smoke-free laws, such as the ones in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, are crucially important. They not only protect non-smokers against deadly second-hand smoke but also help reduce tobacco consumption and motivate smokers to quit the deadly habit. In China, over 700 million people are routinely exposed to harmful second-hand smoke every day and 100,000 deaths a year are caused by being exposed to second-hand smoke,” said Dr Gauden Galea, WHO Representative in China.

The Beijing smoke-free law for example has now been in existence for almost 3 years, the Shanghai law for just over a year, and Shenzhen has been 100% smoke-free since January 2017 – and life in these cities has changed dramatically in that time. From being subjected to cigarette smoke-filled venues, many people are now able to breathe easier and enjoy smoke-free environments. Public support for the laws – including among smokers themselves – is very high. And as a result of the smoke-free laws in the three cities, nearly 60 million residents are now protected from harmful second-hand smoke in indoor public places. “We must make sure this continues through strong and effective enforcement efforts. In addition, other cities are in the midst of passing or upgrading smoke-free laws in their cities, including Xi’an and Hangzhou. We look forward to these cities having 100% smoke-free laws with no loopholes and strong enforcement,” Dr Galea said.

“When a person chooses to smoke, they are not only harming their own health but also the health of other people who are exposed to their smoking. Non-smokers have every right to object to being exposed to such dangers. They should not, therefore, under any circumstance, feel constrained from asking people to respect non-smoking policies in designated areas,” said Dr Galea.

There have been a growing number of cases reported in the Chinese media of members of the public standing up for their right to be protected from second-hand smoke. Smoke-free laws make clear the rights of non-smokers to protect their health and the health of their families.

“Smoke-free legislation empowers everyone to take a stand and grants the explicit legal right for you to tell a smoker who is smoking in a place where it is banned that they need to stop. These laws protect your right to ask people to simply step outside, and not expose you or your loved ones to second-hand smoke,” said Dr Galea.

“Creating a smoke-free China is an urgent priority, putting the health of the population above economic interests. China has made concrete progress, as a result of strong public support. Now, we need to increase support for the existing smoke-free laws, and to encourage smokers to quit. Ultimately, what is needed is for China to pass a 100% smoke-free law for the entire country so that all 1.4 billion Chinese can be fully protected from harmful second-hand smoke, and not just those living in the wealthiest cities. A healthy China is a smoke-free China. Together, we can work to make this happen,” said Dr Galea.

Following the launch of the new video on social media, WHO China will also launch a series of posters, additional videos and host tobacco-control events over the next few months.

Follow WHO China on social media and stay tuned!

To learn more:
Follow WHO China's official Weibo (@世界卫生组织) and WeChat (worldhealthorg) ; Join the conversation using the hashtag #健康是我的权利# (#healthismyright) and #你有控吗# (#RUFree), or by scanning the campaign QR code:

Media please contact:

Ms Wu Linlin
World Health Organization | People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 6532 7190