Do not smoke in public, help colleagues kick the habit, China officials told
BEIJING (REUTERS) - Communist Party officials must not smoke in public places or buy cigarettes using public funds, and should encourage their colleagues to quit smoking, a top Chinese government body said in a circular.
China is the world's largest tobacco consumer. Smoking is deeply entrenched in Chinese social life, particularly for men, and luxury cigarettes are frequently given as gifts.
Beijing pledged in 2008 to ban smoking in most public venues, including government offices, but enforcement has remained lax and no-smoking signs are frequently ignored.
"The phenomenon of smoking in public places remains prevalent, especially for a small number of leading cadres, who not only endanger the public health and environment, but also harm the image of the Communist Party and the government," says the circular issued on Sunday evening by the State Council, China's Cabinet.