The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched a social media campaign in China to raise public awareness and empower non-smokers.
A charity song, “Say No to Forced Smoking,” which shares the name of the campaign, was released in Beijing and the music video will be uploaded to several Chinese video streaming websites.
The online campaign has invited more than 1,000 volunteers, including celebrities, to share their anti-smoking stories across social networking sites such as Sina Weibo.
Angela Pratta, who is leading the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative in China, said the WHO wanted to make use of new media as a communication platform to discuss health-related issues with the public.
Lang Yongchun, a television host and one of the campaign’s volunteers, said education, especially that aimed at youngsters, was crucial to ensure people led healthy lives.
“I admit that smokers have the right to smoke, but they shouldn’t harm non-smokers’ health,” said Wu Yiqun, an anti-tobacco campaigner with the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, a nongovernmental organization committed to smoking control in Beijing.
“Non-smokers should ‘Say No to Forced Smoking’ to people who smoke in public spaces," Wu said.
The Chinese government is currently considering tougher tobacco controls, and a draft regulation published by the legislative affairs office of the State Council will be made available for public comment and consultation from Monday.
The draft bans smoking in all kinds of indoor public spaces as well as all forms of advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products.