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Asia-Pacific
Australia quits as China puffs on
Sydney district bans outdoor smoking China reels from cigarette-related deaths.
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2007 22:42 GMT
Mosman residents can now only smoke
on footpaths, roads and private property

An Australian district is making its streets smoke-free while in China, little is being done to reduce the one million deaths from smoking each year.
 
The Mosman municipal council, which covers the exclusive suburbs around Sydney harbour, has banned smoking outdoors, making every park, sports field, playground, beach and bus shelter smoke-free.
Going beyond national advertisements with graphic pictures of diseased mouths and feet and warn that "smoking causes mouth cancer, gangrene and harms unborn babies", residents will be fined $90 for smoking anywhere other than on footpaths, roads and private property.
'Intelligent society'
 
Andrew Brown, the Mosman councillor who proposed the policy, said smoking should be condemned "in a sophisticated, intelligent society".
 
"There's 4,000 chemicals come off the end of a lit cigarette. Now if I were to put them in an aerosol can and spray them in your face, I'd be arrested," he said.
 
Smoking deaths

Australia:
50 a day or 18250 a year 

China:
2,740 a day or more than 1 million a year 

"So, it's just been accepted to do it off a cigarette but it is no longer in Mosman."
 
Brown said he expected "other councils of stout heart will join us".
 
But the battle is moving into homes as well.
 
A government tribunal has ordered residents in a Sydney apartment block to stop smoking or face a $4,000 fine after neighbours complained of smoke wafting in from one of the units.
 
Anti-smoking groups support the tough stance and believe it will help save the 50 Australians who die every day from smoking-related illness.
 
Puffing away
 
Meanwhile in China where there is no smoking ban, an estimated 2,740 people die every day from smoking-related illness, meaning one million dead Chinese every year.
 
The Chinese use up a third of the world's tobacco, and no one appears concerned over smoking-related diseases.
 
"Because we're already hooked, it's hard to quit," a couple on a street in Beijing said.
 
"It's just my character, you can't change me. I don't want to change my habit, I won't change! How's that?!" exclaimed a taxi driver.
 
No warning labels are found on cigarette boxes in China because cigarette production is a state-run industry generating $30bn a year.
 
Henk Bekedam of the World Health Organisation said: "If China would for instance make the tobacco products more expensive, let's say an increase of 10 per cent, what we normally see, we see a reduction in people who are smoking."
 
He also said that China's 350 million smokers must bear part of the burden.
 
"So now, what we have, the step we have to make, is making people more responsible that they have a choice. And also, that they cannot expose other people with this bad behaviour."
Source:
Al Jazeera
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