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Right to ban civil servants from smoking at work

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-12 07:32

Right to ban civil servants from smoking at work

Non-smoking banners are displayed on the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, capital of China on June 1, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

THE GOVERNMENT of Linquan county, East China's Anhui province, has banned civil servants from smoking during working hours, which has prompted much debate, Legal Daily comments:

Violators will be exposed on county television, and required to conduct open self-criticism and donate between 200 yuan ($29) and 1,000 yuan to the county's poverty alleviation fund. Many people think this goes too far. However, there are more than 316 million smokers in China and it is right that civil servants set a good example for the public by not smoking at work.

The central government issued a national smoking ban in 2011. But the ban has been poorly implemented. Many who smoke in public places seem to have nothing to fear. Some are quite audacious in defying the ban and openly challenge the authority of the law enforcers, as if smoking, whenever and wherever, is a fundamental right.

And there is no lack of smokers among civil servants. If they can take the lead in obeying the ban on smoking, it will not only be good for their own health, but also improve the law-abiding image of government departments.

Governments are the makers and executors of policies and rules related to public health. Government employees have no justification for ignoring the policies and rules that they expect others to abide by since they are not exempt.

In other words, that many people, presumably government employees, find the smoking ban introduced by the Linquan county authorities inhumane or impractical indicates how far removed civil servants are from the people.

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