Tobacco advertising in China is still visible in nearly half of all tobacco stores two months before a new law takes effect that bans such advertising in public places, according to a story in the China Daily.
The Advertisement Law, which was adopted in April by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, bans tobacco advertisements on all mass media and in public places – indoor and outdoor – as of September 1. Some people in the tobacco industry have said that there should be an exemption for tobacco advertisements at tobacco sales points.
The Daily said that the situation, whereby many retail outlets were still displaying tobacco advertising, pointed to the challenge that could await enforcement of the comprehensive tobacco advertising ban.
But the Daily report did not suggest that there was anything wrong with the tobacco industry’s taking advantage of the last weeks of advertising, nor that it would be anything other than a fairly simple task to remove point-of-sale materials when the time to do so arrived.
Tobacco advertisements were found at more than 45 percent of tobacco sale points, according to the results of a survey released by the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC).
The survey, organized by the CATC and conducted in June, covered 507 tobacco sales points, including convenience stores and tobacco shops in supermarkets, in five areas in China, including Shanghai, Beijing and Henan province.
Posters and product showcasing were two of the major types of advertisements identified during the survey.
Huang Jiefu, director of the CATC and a former vice-health minister, said tobacco control was an arduous task. China’s monopoly tobacco industry had long been one of the most important sources of tax revenue for the government.
“It is a duel between those who consider the health of the millions of people as the priority and those who get interests from the powerful tobacco industry,” he said.