WHO China applauds move to make Xi’an 100% smoke-free, and encourages more cities to follow

The World Health Organization (WHO) in China applauds the Xi’an Municipal Government for passing a new regulation which will make all indoor public places 100% smoke-free from 1 November 2018, and calls for more cities to follow in its footsteps.

“We are thrilled to see that Xi’an, one of the most famous tourism cities in the world, has passed a 100% smoke-free law, with no loopholes and no exemptions. It means that the nearly 10 million citizens and 180 million visitors every year will be completely protected from the deadly effects of second-hand smoke,” said Dr Gauden Galea, WHO Representative in China.

“We congratulate the Xi’an Municipal Government for taking this strong and determined step to improve the health of Xi’an citizens and visitors. Their leadership have been truly exemplary and serve as a source of inspiration for other city leaders who are considering similar moves. The Xi’an authorities have the WHO’s full support as they now look to the critically important tasks of implementing and enforcing the new smoke-free regulation,” said Dr Galea.

“Xi’an has shown that the decision to go 100% smoke-free is not limited to China’s biggest and wealthiest Tier 1 cities. Any city in China, no matter its size, can make the choice. We should no longer debate the feasibility of making cities 100% smoke-free, but recognize it is a matter of political leadership to protect the health of our citizens,” Dr Galea said.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – the global tobacco control treaty which China ratified in 2005 – requires all indoor public places and work places to be 100% smoke-free. This is because exposure to second-hand smoke kills – there is no safe level of exposure and designated smoking rooms and ventilation systems have proven ineffective. Exposure to second-hand smoke causes around 100,000 deaths in China each year.

More cities in China are following the trend and strengthening their smoke-free laws. “Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xi’an and others around the world have clearly shown that a comprehensive law, fully compliant with WHO FCTC, coupled with rigorous enforcement, public education, and strong political leadership is a sure-win formula for success. 100% smoke-free public places work. And they are incredibly popular with the public. We urge the leaders in other cities as well as the national government to save more lives by passing legislation that bans public smoking indoors, without exceptions,” Dr Galea concluded.

About the World Health Organization

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

For more information please contact

Ms WU Linlin
WHO China Office
E-mail: wpchnmedia@who.int
Office Tel: +86 10 6532 7191