Promoting compliance and enforcement of the tobacco advertising ban in China through legal actions and media advocacy by public interest lawyers
Zhenyu Wang 1  
,  
Enze Li 1
,  
Xin Li 2
,  
Xi Yin 3
,  
 
 
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1
Beijing Impact Law Firm, China
2
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, China
3
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A455
KEYWORDS
WCTOH
 
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ABSTRACT
Background and challenges to implementation:
The Amended Advertising Law took effect in September 2015. This national law prohibits tobacco advertising in mass media and in public places. It also bans any kind of tobacco advertising targeting minors. The Chinese tobacco industry has tried to circumvent the law by advertising tobacco products indirectly. The enforcement agency, State Administration for Industry and Commerce and its provincial and local bureaus, do not have enforcement guidelines, lack funds and incentives to enforce the law. Violations, particularly at points of sales, are common.

Intervention or response:
Beijing Impact Law Firm (BILF) built a public Interest lawyers alliance for tobacco control covering 15 cities in China. Through training workshops, frequent communications and experience sharing on social media, BILF facilitated the communications among these lawyers and supported them in taking actions in their cities to promote compliance and enforcement of the Revised Advertising Law. These actions included monitoring, collecting evidence, taking legal actions such as litigation and filing complaints, and media advocacy.

Results and lessons learnt:
From 2013 to 2016, the network of public interest lawyers took 52 legal actions, 36 received official response, and 31 advertisements were removed as a result. Two successful examples have demonstrated that the monitoring and actions taken by lawyers resulted in enforcement and compliance. The media advocacy efforts during the legal actions resulted in wide media coverage, which effectively promoted public understanding of the law and the wrong-doing of the tobacco industry. Legal actions by public interest lawyers coupled with media advocacy can effectively promote enforcement and compliance. The alliance of public interest lawyers has served as a platform for the lawyers to exchange experience and share lessons learns.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Lawyers and lawyer networks are an important ally for tobacco control in China. More lawyers should be mobilized to monitor and improve implementation of tobacco control policies.

eISSN:1617-9625