A man smokes e-cigarette in Shanghai in October. (Photo: VCG)
The newly revised Law on the Protection of Minors, which will take effect on June 1, makes remarkable progress in protecting the minors against tobacco use.
Many minors are seen vaping electronic cigarettes, which harm their growth and health, drawing the policymakers' attention. The new law forbids parents or guardians from encouraging minors to smoke cigarettes or indulge in vaping.
This is the first time that electronic cigarettes have been included in a national document to curb smoking. The new law forbids the sale of cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes, to minors; setting up of cigarette outlets near schools and smoking in schools, kindergartens or places where minors are present in large numbers. These detailed regulations reduce the possibility of minors getting exposed to cigarettes as it effectively imposes an all-around smoking ban in places where minors gather.
The articles in the new law don't only protect the minors, but also will help curb smoking in China in general, which in itself is a huge challenge in a country that produces and consumes a huge number of cigarettes every year.
An important way to control smoking is by reducing the rising number of potential smokers, that is, by keeping minors away from cigarettes.
But in reality, there is a growing trend of people picking up smoking at a young age, as it is not very difficult for minors in China to purchase cigarettes.
However, the new law stipulates legal liability for those found violating the smoking ban. Retailers selling cigarettes to minors will be fined up to 50,000 yuan ($7,467.58) and even risk getting their business license canceled.
Those found smoking in schools, kindergartens or other places where minors gather in large numbers can be fined up to 500 yuan. The Law on the Protection of Minors is expected to be a powerful legal weapon protecting the minors from cigarettes.