Promoting tobacco control law enforcement in China through applications of “Government Information Disclosure” and media advocacy
Xin Li 2
Xi Yin 3
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Beijing Impact Law Firm, China
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, China
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A163
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Background and challenges to implementation:
China has not a national law on tobacco control. Since FCTC came into force in China, 18 cities have enacted smoke-free laws or policies and an increasing number of cities and even provinces are planning to adopt such policies. Strong enforcement is lacking in some of the cities for such reasons as lack of funds and incentives, or competing priorities of the local governments. Monitoring and promoting effective implementation of smoke-free policies at the subnational level is important to enhance the smoke-free movement and decrease exposure to secondhand smoke in China.

Intervention or response:
In 2015, Beijing Impact Law Firm (BILF) began to obtain details regarding enforcement of smoke-free policies from local governments, based on Regulations on the Openness of Government Information. Through analysis of the local smoke-free law or policy, BILF sent a list of questions regarding the enforcement mechanism, amount of fines collected, number of venues inspected, etc. This was the first time for the civil society in China to use “Government Information Disclosure” to strengthen tobacco control work. BILF developed a report ranking the performance of all these cities in enforcing the smoke-free policy along with suggestions to the local governments. BILF then released the report to the media, which has generated wide media coverage and pressured the local governments to improve their performance.

Results and lessons learnt:
The release of the reports has generated public attention to the smoke-free work in their cities. The local governments do not want to be the bottom on the ranking list and have taken actions to improve their efforts in implementing the smoke-free policy.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Effective implementation of smoke-free policies is important to create public health benefits and enhance the tobacco control movement. The civil society should make full use of existing policies or mechanisms such as “Government Information Disclosure” to monitor and promote tobacco control work.

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